– Short Review –
If like me you have children that were brought up on Charlie and Lola then what better book to get them to move onto – this is a great book, full of the same magic and sparkle of Child’s outings with Lola and her brother, but a bit more of a stretch from younger readers. The littered educational properties that this book adds is also another tremendous highlight and shows that Lauren Child knows what it is young minds need – if there is a difficult word or a word that younger minds might not know, she doesn’t leave them guessing or finding an adult to ask – she puts it right there in delightfully insightful footnotes. The story is fabulously simple, whilst being completely engaging – if your children love a mystery and laugh out loud moments… then jump right in!
– Longer Review –
It is Lauren Child’s attention to the books style that resonates so well with the reader, a book that is ideal for reluctant readers and for those stepping up from shorter fiction – and especially for fans of Charlie and Lola. Child is able to weave a comic book style into her story telling and it is arrestingly astute and gives the reader help in visualising what is going on within the book, if there words prove too much – it also helps to fully flesh out the characters and is a masterstroke in the power of the book and its reception with the reader. The way the images and words share the page are well thought out, and ensure that every page sings with the magic everyone expects when reading Child’s work.
As mentioned above, I also loved Child’s attention to detail regarding the larger words or peculiar phrases she uses in the book, and it shows that this book once again was crafted with the young reader in mind. When you are faced with the startling statistics that many parents don’t read with their children, it becomes even more important that these words and phrases can be explained to the child without them having to hunt down a parent or just skim over them – this is where Child’s delightful footers come into play and aid with the child’s unwrapping and understanding of the text.
The story is delightfully told as we expect and the voice of Hubert is uniquely childlike and what one would expect from a writer who knows her audience so well. We follow our narrator as they explain to us the intricacies in the life of Hubert Horatio, his family, his wealth, his many houses and his crazy adventures – the book then takes Hubert on a journey of mystery as he attempts to discover what is lurking in their rather large and sprawling house – some say its a ghost, some a ghost dog, some even say it is a ghost with a pet dog, but some say it’s just a ghost pig.
At times the book reminded me of Ghost Rescue by Andrew Murray (also reviewed on STORGY Kids) with it’s simplistic storytelling and the way the illustrations work so wonderfully with the written word – they are so intrinsically woven together that if you removed one element, the spell and the hold the book has over its reader would be lost.
This is a perfect read for reluctant readers and those who are stretching their reading chops – funny, insightful, spellbinding illustrations, a wonderfully executed story and a real joy to behold. Which leaves us screaming ‘More please Lauren Child!’
Hubert Horatio: How to Raise your Grown-ups is published by HarperCollinsChildren’s and is available here.
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