Friday 21 March 2014

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 21st March 2014 - "Hilda and the Black Hound" by Luke Pearson (Flying Eye Books)

Hilda and the Black Hound

Written and Illustrated by
Luke Pearson

Published by Flying Eye Books

We tried not to make yet another Hilda adventure "Book of the Week", after all Luke Pearson has already scored a hat-trick with the previous three Hilda books - but it was impossible, truly impossible not to. If you're the sort of person who reads book reviews and hates it when the reviewer(s) gushes on in a fanboy/girl deluge of praise, then I guess you'd better tune out now.

If you're new to the Hilda books by Luke Pearson I envy you. No, really I do - because you've yet to discover why they're so brilliant. Though Luke Pearson is as Scandinavian as a packet of Ryvita, he's managed to perform the minor miracle of tapping into Nordic folklore in a way that has won him an army of fans (quick - come up with a snappy name for them? Ooh how about "Hildafolk!" - Naw, think that's been used before somewhere...hmmm).

If you're an old stager, you'll already know how great the Hilda comics are and how they have a broad appeal to both boys and girls (and even grown up people too!) It's the exciting mix of having a girl hero who is gutsy, fearless and interesting combined with that aforementioned flavour of nordic spruce, plus the sort of supporting cast that has crafty folk throughout the land cracking out their needles, threads, knitting materials and crochet hooks to knock up likenesses of their favourite characters.

Hilda's fourth (and in our opinion her best) adventure sees her still living in Trollberg, resorting to camping out in her room rather than risk venturing out into the sprawling city. Hilda's (poor put-upon) mum comes up with a grand plan - to enrol Hilda in the local scout troop to stop her kicking her heels around the house.

Hilda (as ever) has her own ideas about what being a scout is all about, and can't wait to go on a camping expedition. But while out with mum she runs into a Nisse, a mysterious (and rather hirsute) house spirit who has a dark secret.

When Hilda encounters Tontu (the spirit) again on her camping trip, a mystery begins to unravel regarding a spectral hound that has been haunting Trollberg's streets, gobbling up the residents!

The story is wonderfully paced, and despite sounding a bit scary for youngsters, it's beautifully told and gorgeously illustrated just as all the other Hilda adventures have been.

As ever, you'll enjoy the tiny little details Luke Pearson crams into every comic frame, and the peerless way he has of inventing crazy characters and plots that just. plain. work.

We've been through "Hilda and the Black Hound" several times now, and it's given us the incentive to go through all the other Hilda books again, just to soak up the brilliance of a comic genius who is consistently fabulous at drawing us into his amazing make-believe world, and making us feel like staying there forever.

So it's four "book of the week" nominations for Luke and his glorious creation. Thoroughly well deserved.

If you're a parent looking for that first set of comics to get your child interested, you really ought to investigate Hilda, she truly does rock our socks off!

Charlotte's best bit: Worryingly, Charlotte really enjoyed the knockabout section where two Nisse come to a disagreement over who should live at Hilda's place!

"Black Hound" is by far our favourite Hilda adventure. It's funny, smart, chock full of gorgeous detail with a wholly original storyline and an absolute ton of Hilda fan service. We do miss that wooden guy but Tontu is an ace 'replacement'

(Kindly sent to us for review by the truly awesome Pip at Bounce Marketing / Flying Eye Books)