Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Beachmoles and Bellvine (Blue Nose Island Stories) by Mick Inkpen (Hodder Children's Books)

Mick Inkpen, megastar in children's books, has a knack of coming up with original characters that become firm children's favourites almost overnight. So it was quite something to find a Mick Inkpen book from a series we'd not previously heard of.

The Blue Nose Island stories are completely new to us, and in "Beachmoles and Bellvine" we meet a quirky little character called Ploo (no it's not a silent 'l' Charlotte!) and his dog. Ploo is an inquisitive little chap who lives in a beautiful little house near the sea.

One day Ploo goes exploring in search of new plant life to bring home to brighten up his home, and so into the forest he goes in search of the legendary Bellvine.

Bellvines aren't just any ordinary plant. They produce the most beautiful flowers, that ring when touched. Ploo soon finds some Bellvines with the aid of his dog, and brings home some seeds to plant.

Only one plant grows - and grows fast at that. From a tiny little seedling, to producing its first little ringing flower almost overnight.

Soon though things get completely out of control and while Ploo sleeps, the Bellvine takes over, swamping the little village where Ploo lives and trapping Ploo and his neighbours in their homes.

What on earth is Ploo going to do?

Ah you see we've cunningly not mentioned the Beachmoles yet - as they're pivotal to the rest of the story (which we'll let you discover for yourself). Suffice to say that Ploo soon learns a valuable lesson - be very careful when you uproot a plant or relocate an animal to somewhere it doesn't belong, the consequences can be dire.

Beautiful colourful illustrations and a surprisingly strong moral message make this a classic work of Inkpen genius and one to seek out at your local Library or indie bookstore (it is still in print even though it was first published in 2005).

Charlotte's best bit: The cute little Beachmoles with their blue trumpety mouth / noses

Daddy's favourite bit: A really good tale that feels as fresh and original as Inkpen's brilliant little characters.