Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Very Best Sheepdog by Pinny Grylls and Rosie Wellesley (Pavilion Children's Books)

The Very Best Sheepdog

Written by Pinny Grylls

Illustrated by Rosie Wellesley

Published by Pavilion Children's Books

We do seem to be nestling under a deluge of lovely dog books at the moment and here's yet another dog tale for us to dive into, this time featuring a breed that Charlotte absolutely adores. A mischievous Border Collie is the superstar in "The Very Best Sheepdog" by Pinny Grylls. Pinny, an accomplished director and documentary film maker has turned her inexhaustible talent to writing children's books and in collaboration with Rosie Wellesley, has come up with a fabulous redemptive tale for children.

"The Very Best Sheepdog" starts off by making you think that Ben, the dog in question, is actually the worst sheepdog in the world. He's completely unfocused, and sheep just run away laughing whenever he tries to round them up.

Ben has one friend in the world though, a lovely little lamb, and the two form a firm friendship spending idyllic days playing "Sniff and Seek" as the lamb hides, and Ben finds her.

One day, the sheep go missing during a storm and there's only one dog who can possibly find the sheep - and the missing lamb too. The farmer decides to trust Ben and his nose to sniff out the missing flock and bring them home safely. Can Ben rise to the challenge?

As you'd expect from such a talented team, this book is hugely atmospheric. At times the artwork feels quite dark and foreboding - the farmer is a dark, almost sinister figure as Ben is admonished for his initial mischievousness - but is called to the fore to save the day.

Children will be hopelessly hooked in by the story and the fantastic illustrations and will be on the edge of their seats to find out what happens in the end (we won't spoil it for you, naturally!)

A hugely impressive debut for Pinny, and another immersive and brilliantly illustrated work from Rosie. Highly recommended.

Charlotte's best bit: Charlotte loves the way that the lamb and Ben become friends, and their friendship can save the day.

Daddy's Favourite bit: Atmospheric, involving and at times quite dark but a really beautifully written and illustrated tale.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Pavilion Children's Books)