Thursday, 27 May 2010

Hold On Tight, Stripy Horse! by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall

March 2010, Egmont32 pages, Paperback
Review Copy

Children's, Picture book

Clouds: 5
Smiles: 4
Nayuleska's recommended rating:♥♥♥♥♥

Summary from Egmont

Splish! Splash! Splosh! Wet and windy magic was at work in the bric-a-brac shop. Plop! A big drop of icy water landed on the stripy horse's nose and woke him up. When the weather turns bad in the bric-a-brac shop, Stripy Horse and his friends must save the day. With the help of Muriel, Hermann, and their new friend, Ella the flamingo-shaped umbrella, they must get to the bottom of this tropical storm before poor Roly and Pitch the salt and pepper pots get washed away. Perhaps the painting on the wall and the parrot-shaped weathervane have something to do with it...

I saw the front cover, and instantly wanted to review this because of the cuteness factor. Look at the cute horse with the large, poke-able stomach! Don't you just want to hug him? (I'm very fond of all things cute and squishy). Okay, the colours remind me of brightly coloured socks. But the shape of stripy horse are similar to a soft toy giraffe I had. I used to (and still do, sometimes) push the giraffe's feet inwards, so that they disappeared into the legs....I think I'd better stop digressing on my toy collection!

Those were the reasons for selecting the book. Now onto the story itself. The story stresses how anything can happen when friends help out. I liked the bric-a-brac shop illustrations. I smiled at how friendly the other toys look (the penguins are funny). There's such a treasure-trove of objects in the shop, which readers can spend time looking at. For parents reading to children, questions could be asked about where else the objects appear in the book, what the objects might be used for, whether there are any in the child's house. A book is never just a book, there are always other things you can do with it (questions, re-enactments. Not door stops)

The practical adult in me (yes, one does exist) thought 'Think of the smell of drying everything out, or the cost of replacing sodden objects'. I pushed that aside with my fun, imaginative side which figured out that everyone would magically become dry by the end of the book. The mystery is why it started raining in the house - a mystery which has a reasonable explanation.

This is a brightly coloured story, with plenty to inspire the reader's imagination. I personally adore the two penguins, Roly and Pitch. They cheer on Stripy Horse, and appear on most pages of the book. All the other characters, including Stripy Horse, pop out from the page. I want to hug them all! I don't know if it exists, but it would be really cool if there was a real stuffed version of Stripy Horse. I can imagine children clutching him, then re-enacting his adventure from the book. (Note to manufacturers - I really want a Stripy House toy!).

This is a book I'll treasure for a long time.

For  another cute book check out Knight Time, by Jane Clarke and Jane Massey

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