Wednesday, 1 May 2013

My Friend Nigel by Jo Hodgkinson (Andersen Press)

The arrival of two snails at Charlotte's school (I am guessing that they're slightly easier to have as pets for 5 year olds than Guinea Pigs or Hamsters) caused lots of excitement. So when the rather lovely Sarah from Andersen Press got in touch to see if we'd like to review a story about a rather talented little mollusc called Nigel, we jumped at the chance!

In what seems to be a recurring theme on the blog lately, it's a book celebrating friendships but we love the complete zaniness of this one.

A young boy, Billy, rescues a snail from his parents' dubious collection of magic ingredients (they are the world's worst magicians) and befriends him. Nigel (because, by rights, all snails should have names like Nigel, Keith or Brian IMHO) tags along with Billy wherever he goes, and soon learns a whole new collection of tricks and stunts as he follows Billy's lead.

Billy's parents aren't exactly enamoured by the fact that their son has struck up such a close bond with (eugh!) a slippery slimy snail so they decide to exercise their magic potions and powers to create some new pet friends for Billy.

They truly are terrible at magic however, and things soon go from bad to worse. It takes a certain brave snail to step in when Mum and Dad go too far, proving that Billy really already had the best friend he could possibly have - wrapped up in a super-strong shell!

Jo Hodgkinson spins a great tale here, and her super-colourful artwork and crazy characters are very awesome. Charlotte still loves snails, but typically the class has moved on to a tank of tadpoles now. Do you think it's worth asking Jo if any tadpole-based books are in the works?

Charlotte's best bit: Nigel's fearless actions save the day, hooray!

Daddy's favourite bit: Absolutely love Jo's colours and her cartoonish way with exaggerated expressions and situations. Fabulous stuff!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Sarah at Andersen Press)