Friday, 21 November 2014

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 21st November 2014 - "Homer Henry Hudson's Curio Museum" by Zack Rock (The Creative Company)

Homer Henry Hudson's Curio Museum

Written and Illustrated by
Zack Rock

Published by The Creative Company

I got home, it was late and dark outside but as soon as I opened the front door I was almost knocked flat by Charlotte, clutching this book.

"Book of the week!" she proclaimed so a little later after dinner, we snuggled up before bedtime and lost ourselves in the world of one Homer Henry Hudson.

Homer, a rheumy-eyed British Bulldog is the enchanting central character of this extremely special book. It's astonishing to think that this is Zack's first children's book (and please, PLEASE don't let it be his last) but from the outset we were completely knocked out by his illustrations in this fabulous story.

We will gush on a bit so bear with us. The illustrations aren't the only thing that won us over. Zack wears his story telling heart on his sleeve as Homer Henry Hudson shows us around his amazing collection. Every object holds a story, and soon we learn that Homer Henry Hudson might look like he's past his best, but what an astonishing past he has.

HHH meticulously describes each object in his collection and delights in the way visitors marvel at the various things in his museum. Reading each tale, our hero begins to sound like an astonishing dog. Part Indiana Jones, with a whiff of Doctor Who about him (we loved his Tom Baker scarf and Fedora) HHH ventured to every corner of the world, rescued princesses and dug deep into the earth to unlock its secrets.

Zack's influences are varied and delightful, and thrummed a deep chord of recognition with me especially. In one part of the museum I loved the fact that there's a superb homage to Rene Magritte. In another scene (blink and you'll miss it) an image that took me right back to my childhood and a book I haven't read in years, Kit Williams' sublime "Masquerade" (wouldn't it be just too fantastic to imagine Homer Henry Hudson doggedly deciphering the clues of that magnificent book and making off with the golden hare!)

Of course it's easy to leap straight to the conclusion that the rich and stunning visuals in this book wowed us, dazzled us and contributed to our decision to give this our highest accolade but Zack's descriptive prose as I adopted a gruff bulldog-like voice to read Homer Henry Hudson's narrative just flows off the page like honey on biscuits. Dang it, it really is as great as it sounds, we promise you.

Lose yourself in a long luxurious read of this, and then go back in again for another, and another, and another look to spot all the glorious references and author's nudges to his influences (oh man, that Sushi museum scene just completely blew me away as soon as I recognised who the other patrons were - see if you recognise them!)

I said we wouldn't gush on too much about it but wow, just wow! You see Charlotte was right to be excited - it's a book of the week without a doubt.

Discover more about Zack's brilliant book over at his fascinating blog.

Charlotte's best bit: She loved Henry's cracked old building (and the story behind how it came to be where it was) but most of all she utterly and completely loved spotting things she recognised and also rather liked Homer Henry Hudson's diving suit

Daddy's Favourite bit: What a glorious book! You could spend a year finding tiny little details in this that'll make you smile and say "Wow, I remember that!" but you'll truly love the way this reads, and Homer Henry Hudson's gentle self-deprecating modesty at how he acquired his truly amazing collection! We absolutely cannot wait for Zack's next book. He's up there with the greats!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Zack Rock / The Creative Company)