Friday 25 March 2016

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 25th March 2016 - "Veronica" by Roger Duvoisin (Bodleian Library Press)

Bodleian Publishing continue to bring back some truly stunning titles into print, including our Book of the Week this week, the glorious "Veronica" by Roger Duvoisin...
I'm a real fan of 'golden age' children's books from the late 1950s / Early 1960s, and it's exciting to see some of these titles finding a whole new audience of adoring kids who may have never had the opportunity to see these great books in any other way (unless their parents really looked after their childhood books, of course!)

"Veronica", the hippo superstar of Roger Duvoisin's hilarious stories, is back and her very first outing into the big city is being reprinted in a new cloth-bound hardback version that instantly looks and feels like the classic book.

One of the main reasons we love these classics is because it's very easy to see where modern books draw their inspiration from. It's also very interesting to see children's stories with bold and largely monochrome illustrations still being appreciated and enjoyed, and books with more of a word count don't seem to put Charlotte off either, now she's happy to get to grips with chapter books (this is an important point if you're reading books like this to little fidget-bottoms who like their stories short and sweet).

In this first tale, Veronica is a bit fed up with life on the savannah. She longs to stretch out without being overcrowded by all the members of her hippo family who all live together in the river bed. She really wants to be different, to stand out from the crowd, to be noticed.

One day, Veronica's wanderlust leads her to find her merry way to the city. She has heard about this amazing place and wonders if a hippo can be seen as something truly new and amazing by city-dwelling folk.

You know the old saying - "Be careful what you wish for!"

Veronica, of course, sticks out like a sore thumb. It seems that the city isn't quite ready for a Hippo and the narrow streets, angry and impatient people and a whole heap of trouble await Veronica as her innocent adventuring starts to go horribly wrong. She's told off for drinking the fountain in the park, she's told off for parking her rather large hippo bottom next to a fire hydrant and as for what happens when she guzzles down an entire vegetable cart without paying? Well you can guess the rest!

Luckily for Veronica, a kindly old lady sees her distress and promptly wades in (as old ladies often do) to the fray to put things right once and for all! Veronica's rescuer is kind and thoughtful and there's a rather nice moral lesson in there for children, to get their cogs whirring about being a bit more caring and considerate.

Roger Duvoisin is deservedly a legendary children's author who sadly died in 1980 but left behind a huge collection of fabulous stories (including the Caldecott medal-winning "White Snow, Bright Snow"). There are several more Veronica tales too, and I truly hope that Bodleian release those at some point as well.

Charlotte's favourite bit: Poor Veronica's large bottom blocking a fire hydrant, much to the chagrin of the local Police Force.

Daddy's favourite bit: What an absolutely brilliant classic, brought back to stunning life by Bodleian. A truly remarkable and inspirational children's title that harks from an age when children's books were fresh, vibrant and original.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Bodleian Publishing)


Written and Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin

Published by Bodleian Publishing

Publication Date: 25th March 2016