Friday, 6 March 2015

ReadItDaddy's SECOND Book of the Week - Week Ending 6th March 2015 - "That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown" by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton (Hodder Children's Books)

That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown

Written by Cressida Cowell

Illustrated by Neal Layton

Published by Hodder Children's Books

We are cheating a bit here by squeezing in a second book of the week this week with a book that we've previously reviewed way back in the mists of time when we still had a rating out of 5, and this blog was in its infancy (along with our Blog Boss Charlotte who was a mere whippersnapper back then!)

So is it possible for a book that your child loved as a tiny tiddler to still be well received now they're an opinionated and fussy 7 year old?

In the case of "That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown" the answer is a resounding YESSSS!

So why did this book stand the test of time? Well look at the talent behind it for starters. Cressida Cowell, known to millions as the genius behind the "How to Train your Dragon" series which has made the leap to the big and small screens from its book beginnings, writes this absolute cracker. Neal Layton, illustrative genius behind one of our all-time favourite books "Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone" provides the stunningly appropriate and fantastically scribbly-scrobbly visuals for our story journey.

But having top talent to pen a story isn't always the be all and end all. Why then IS this story so utterly perfect for Charlotte? It's because of Emily Brown herself and her wild and vivid imagination. Over the course of "That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown", Emily - always accompanied by her old faithful toy rabbit Stanley, embarks on the most incredible adventures often without straying from her own back yard. She treks across the sahara desert on a motorbike, climbs through the rain forests and explores the outer reaches of space.

Stanley is the focus for this story, you see avaricious eyes have rather taken a shine to the scruffy old rabbit with his wonky smile. After making several offers of 'swapsies' for Stanley, Queen Gloriana The Third adopts downright sneaky tactics to kidnap Stanley and take him to the palace to live with her instead.

Poor Stanley! He does NOT look happy!

As you can imagine, Emily Brown is not the sort of girl who is going to stand by and watch her best friend be spirited away, so she decides a trip to the palace is in order.

Revisiting this now Charlotte is older (and thankfully still tolerant of me using a multitude of really silly voices for all the characters in this such as the army, naval and air commanders) it is actually a genuine joy to see her still as excited and entertained by this book (though she made a lot of pointed comments about NEEDING all those "How to Train your Dragon" books lovingly listed at the end. We'd better start saving our birthday money!)

Emily Brown has now featured in four books (and we'll be taking another look at "Emily Brown and the Thing" soon, another re-review to see if Charlotte still loves that grizzly scratchy old Thing as well!)

If you've yet to encounter the Emily Brown books, I'm almost envious because you are going to experience the joy of finding an utter booky treasure - and one that is going to stay with you and your children for a very long time to come!

(Read our original review of "That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown" here)

Charlotte's best bit: She loves the bit where the sneaky "Queen's Special Commandos" (who are just the army, navy and air force in disguise) sneak in and steal Stanley. How very DARE they!!!!

Daddy's Favourite bit: I was so pleased that these were getting a timely reprint. The Emily Brown stories are brilliant, and span such a wide age range (well, in our case at least) that it's a genuine pleasure to revisit them and dust down all my silly voices to read the absolute best of the bunch. A joyous celebration of a child's imagination, and a rather nicely veiled moral lesson on avarice and envy tucked in between the pages too! Wonderful wonderful WONDERFUL!

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

Like this? We think you'll love these too!

"Emily Brown and the Thing" by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton

"Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone" by Frieda Wishinsky and Neal Layton