Thursday 7 February 2019

Armadillo and Hare by Jeremy Strong, Illustrated by Rebecca Bagley - reviewed by Dawn Finch

First the blurb…

Armadillo and Hare live with their friends in the Big Forest.
Hare loves dancing. Armadillo loves cheese sandwiches.
Hare loves picnics on the beach. Armadillo loves cheese sandwiches.
Hare loves playing the tuba. Armadillo loves cheese sandwiches.
Hare loves his best friend, Armadillo. Armadillo loves Hare – AND cheese sandwiches!

As a children’s librarian I spend a lot of time reading children’s books and always find a great deal of pleasure in them. Once in a while, however, I come across a book that makes me genuinely laugh out loud with glee. Armadillo and Hare is one of those books.

The story of this unlikely partnership, and the many other forest dwellers who visit their cabin, is not only completely charming, it’s a blast too! There are superbly absurd magical elements (such as Hare’s tuba from which spring random objects like toasters, tea towels and kittens) and each creature is quirky and individual (a favourite of mine being Jaguar, who wears the most splendid fascinator).

Armadillo and Hare live their ostensibly simple life in the log cabin – painting and eating (or trying to eat) cheese sandwiches, but their animal visitors expand the story and bring them the most wonderful adventures. Strong’s text is perfectly targeted for those children getting to grips with first chapter books, and here they will find many exciting new words and phrases.

The text is beautifully matched with Rebecca Bagley’s witty and captivating illustrations. The expressions on the animals are truly adorable, but never sickly-sweet. Her work is just lovely, and it’s well worth seeking out her short graphic novel, Tick, which is a remarkable piece of work.

Armadillo and Hare is a book that I am desperate to read aloud as I can already see the excited joyful little faces as they too dive into the brilliantly funny and wonderful world of Armadillo and Hare.

Armadillo and Hare is published by David Fickling Books
ISBN 9781788450287

Dawn Finch is a children’s author and librarian.
Her most recent publication is an exploration of historical fiction for children.


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