Friday, 8 November 2013

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 8th November 2013. "Hilda and the Bird Parade" by Luke Pearson (Flying Eye Books)

Hilda and the Bird Parade

Written and Illustrated by

Luke Pearson

Published by Flying Eye Books

With ease, Luke Pearson's "Hilda and the Bird Parade" pulls the hat-trick of nailing our "Book of the Week" slot again. Call it favouritism, call it rampant fanboism if you will - but these books are absolutely flipping fantastic, even more so now that Flying Eye have reissued them in gorgeous new hardback covers - highlighting how important a comic series this is for young children (and adults too).

We're used to Hilda's fairly amazing and carefree lifestyle. Living out in the wilds (technically - as you'll know if you've read "The Midnight Giant" she's actually not living "in the middle of nowhere" though!) and having amazing adventures. But here, Pearson asks "What if you took the girl (and her mum) out of the environment she knows and loves and put her slap bang in the middle of a bustling city?"

Moving to Trollberg (love that name, I would love to live in a city called Trollberg), Hilda finds life succinctly different - and we're never given the reason for the move, but the "Hilda" series takes a distinctly dark turn as life in the city proves to be anything but exciting and adventure-filled. No strange animals fly past her window, trolls stay well away from the city limits, and Hilda's mum becomes protective and worried as Hilda fails to grasp what a dark and dangerous place the city can be.

Making new friends at school, Hilda's mum has to let go of the apron strings as Hilda accompanies her pals on a roam around the city. What city kids find exciting and exhilarating is a little bit - well - dull for a girl who's used to meeting mountain-sized giants or trolls. But is the city devoid of adventure? What happens when Hilda is lost in the sprawling metropolis and just what is the mysterious "Bird Parade" really about?

Reading through this with Charlotte prompted so many questions, what happened to Hilda and her mum to prompt the move? What happened to The Woodman? Why were the kids so mean to animals?

As you'll see from my wife's brilliant blog we do as much as we can to give Charlotte as much of an interest in the great outdoors as Hilda has. We spend practically every weekend out in the wilds if we can, and so this thrummed a deep bass chord with us - a story where essentially Luke Pearson has taken his mini blue-haired heroine out of her comfort zone and placed her in unfamiliar surroundings to see whether city life can erode all the things that make her Hilda (I really loved the bit where she's playing Postman's Knock and a sweet old lady answers the door!)

We're sad too. This is the Hilda book that had previously eluded us, and there's no sign of any more from Luke Pearson yet. Surely though with the success of these reprints, and Hildafolk like us clamouring about how brilliant the series is from the rooftops, there absolutely has to be more from her. I don't think we could bear it if this was all there was going to be.

Charlotte's best bit: Twig to the rescue! Oh and an utterly fantastic map (Tove Mountain!)

Daddy's Favourite bit: Dark in tone, a real change to previous books but we actually both think this is the best Hilda yet. So many brilliant little bits to love (hilarious daydream about big fat muscly legs). Hilda remains a series that we will always champion, it is just so good.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Bounce Marketing / Flying Eye Books)