Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Scallywags by David Melling (Hodder Children's Books)

We think we've hit on a secret theory of being successful in children's books. Include wolves in your work! I'm serious, we have taken a quick look back through the blog and a heck of a lot of the books we've enthused about contain wolves or at the very least wolfish behaviour.

Perhaps this says more about us than children's books but hey, The Scallywags has a whole FAMILY of the blighters to contend with, and (in our humble opinion) they're some of the most loveable (if slightly flea-bitten) characters David Melling has ever come up with.

The Scallywags live together in a tumbledown old shack (and in the introductory pages you could probably spend a good year or two just picking out all the tiny little exquisite details David works into his panels).

They're a funny lot, and not exactly popular with the other animals they share their neighbourhood with.

Things come to a head when the rather rude and slightly abrasive Scallywags gatecrash a group photograph causing utter chaos and confusion.

The animals have had enough, and practically banish the Scallywags for good. A move that causes the wolfish clan to re-examine their behaviour, their lifestyle, their tendency to pick their noses and wipe it under their chairs - the whole kit and caboodle.

Perhaps, they muse, it's time for a change.

Of course, we'd be ruining the rest of the story for you if we told you what happens when a clan of crazy wolves suddenly decides to clean up their act, take lessons in good manners and etiquette and start dressing appropriately for dinner - suffice to say that this is a book of delights that has narrowly nudged out "The Kiss that Missed" as our all-time favourite David Melling book. We were very lucky to pick up a near-mint-condition copy from our local charity shop and it's been read and re-read frequently ever since.

Brilliant stuff Mr Melling.

Charlotte's best bit: She loves Knits (and her tiny baby wolves)

Daddy's favourite bit: The sort of ink and colour work I'd give my right arm to be able to do (though obviously if I gave my right arm to do it, I wouldn't be able to do it...!). Utterly brill!

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