Friday, 8 May 2015

ReaditDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 8th May 2015 - "Where oh Where is Rosie's Chick?" by Pat Hutchins (Hodder Children's Books)

Where oh where is Rosie's Chick?

Written and Illustrated by
Pat Hutchins

Published by Hodder Children's Books

Wow, this one sneaked up on us as stealthily as the fox that starred in the first book. With great excitement, I rubbed my eyes in disbelief at the news of a sequel to a book I truly, truly loved as a wee whippersnapper. A book I couldn't wait to share with Charlotte as soon as she could toddle - and a book that has stayed in print, and since become a well-loved classic for many millions of folk around the world.

"Rosie's Walk" by Pat Hutchins is deservedly legendary. The tale of a hen toddling off for a walk around her locale doesn't sound in any way groundbreaking or appealing, but when "Rosie's Walk" first appeared, it ushered a new golden era for children's stories where the text took a back seat to the illustrative storytelling, allowing the very youngest of would-be readers to get involved at an early age.

"Rosie's Walk" went on to sell millions of copies. Now here we are in 2015 and it's fantastic to see Pat Hutchins still producing the most wonderful stories and revisiting the hero of her best-known book.

In "Where oh where is Rosie's chick?", Rosie is a mum but seems to have mislaid her new offspring. The chick is not in the henhouse, so Rosie sets off on a journey to locate the missing fluffball (who at this point in the story is still shellbound!)

As with "Rosie's Walk", Pat Hutchins' sense of comedy and timing is utterly perfect as we see Rosie and her chick (who follows dutifully behind her, unbeknownst to Rosie who perhaps ought to get fitted for a pair of specs!) narrowly avoiding a whole new set of dangers in and around the farmyard...including an all-too familiar foe who has brought help this time!

Recapturing the look and feel of a book that's as old as I am (it was published in the same year as I was born) could have gone hideously wrong. Sticking with the original colour palettes, the character designs and the book's layouts was absolutely the right thing to do though, because "Where oh where is Rosie's chick?" instantly feels familiar, well loved and a true homage paid to a mighty classic (It was quite interesting reading the interview with Pat (which we published excerpts of in our recent preview of this very book!)

We both loved this. Me, because it tapped directly into my nostalgic memories of the original with its groovy late 60s / early 70s crazy palettes and solid illustrations (sadly though, my copy was lost at some point in countless house moves but it's a book we've borrowed many many times from the library since). Charlotte loved it because it combines hilarious slapstick with more subtle comedy, though younger children are really going to lap it up (particularly if their parents read both books to them in sequence).

Utterly brilliant. Hope it sells by the truckload. Pat is a national treasure!

Charlotte's best bit: A lovely moment with Rosie and her chick at the end of the story (with a surprise we won't spoil for you!)

Daddy's Favourite bit: Instantly familiar and classic, an utterly fabulous sequel to one of the best children's books of all time!

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

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