‘Mrs Sprat rolls up her sleeves.
Her hands reach out.
She pulls, not carrots
but Hodge’s bottom.’
This book has been hanging around on our shelves since Easter, but I just had to write about it, as it’s still being read by my two Bitsy Bookworms over and over again. I have to admit that I am a little bit biased when it comes to books about bunnies, having once been the proud, previous owner of a beautiful little house rabbit.
I’ll begin with the illustrations as they are simply gorgeous! Who can resist that front cover picture of Hodge, the large white rabbit, with one black splodge? Hodge is of course depicted throughout as super cute, with his wide eyes and sweet little expressive face, which makes the reader become increasingly attached to him as the story progresses. The earthy colour palette enhances all the little natural details to be discovered within the pages, yet the characters of Hodge and Mrs Sprat remain centre stage. The muted tones add a slight shadow to the pages as the darker side of the story comes through. It isn’t all fluffy little bunny tails!
The writing is equally as beautiful. This story is designed for reading out loud to little ones and older ones alike. There is lots of repetition, internal rhyme and onomatopoeia, making it fun and pacey. The story revolves around the adorable Hodge who just wants to be content eating carrots. Unfortunately, these carrots reside in the garden of Mrs Sprat, who isn’t so happy about Hodge eating her carrots. A chase develops and another enemy also comes into play in the shape of a predatory buzzard, but Mrs Sprat fancies rabbit pie and is keeping her eye on the prize too….
There are certain parallels between this story and that of another famous bunny in a blue jacket, who enjoys venturing into his nemesis’ garden to steal his homegrown veg. But this story certainly stands out all by itself. The narrative develops into a truly heartwarming tale that can’t fail to melt the most hardened of hearts. This story is a fantastic collaboration between Polly Faber and Briony May Smith and if either of you are listening, we at Bitsy Bookworms would love a sequel!