Peapod’s Picks is a weekly round up of some of the books that Peapod* has read (often, but not always, for his bedtime stories) each week plus a review of at least one of them.
*His social media alter ego, not his real name!
This week, we’re celebrating the release of a new book by one of our (my) favourite author/illustrators and making our claim to fame that we almost, nearly met her (we were in the same room anyway!)
On Saturday, we hopped in the car to Rochdale Children’s Literature Festival as I’d booked tickets for Morag’s event.
I was a bit apprehensive that Peapod would be too little, but reasoned that he always enjoys storytime groups and stories with us, plus it would give me chance to get our books signed – eek!
As it turned out, it was somewhere between the two. Peapod enjoyed listening to Morag read I Am Bat, and seeing her draw Bat. He just about made it through Brenda is a Sheep too, before heat and tiredness won out and we had to give in and leave for a nap and fresh air.
It meant no book signing for me, which I was gutted about, but also a little relieved because I’ve never met an author whose work I love before and I wasn’t really sure what you were supposed to do or say! (Social situations are not a forte!)
What we did see was fab though and we all loved listening to the stories bring read by their creator before we had to leave!
And so to today’s review(s) First a recap of some of her other books…
Next is the book that introduced me to Morag Hood. It appeared on a trolley not long after I started at Waterstones, intrigued I flicked through and chuckling away instantly loved it and read it to everyone ekse (un)fortunate enough to be working with me that day.
Colin is a carrot. Lee is a Pea. They may be very different, but they’re still the best of friends. And it’s Colin’s differences which make him so much fun to be friends with. A quirky celebration of difference and diversity, deftly done.
Incidentally, I really wanted to get our copy of this signed to Peapod, because you know – peas, but it wasn’t to be…
Bat is such a brilliant and expressive character. Very Barnett-Klassen. Somebody (or, indeed, somebodies) are stealing his beloved cherries and it just won’t do. I love the way little readers can see what’s going on and guess at who’s stealing them through the illustrations while poor bat is left in the dark.
I think The Steves might be my favourite of Morag’s books so far (though picking a favourite is tough) I love the sulky, stroppiness of it, the funny name-calling and the ending that negs to start all over again. Such a fun book to read aloud too. My full review of it is here.
This is a close contender for my favourite too though, and Aalfred and Aalbert are definitely my favourite fictional couple.
I thought I’d reviewed this, but apparently not. Let me remedy that – it’s full of humour and heart and is just wonderful.
Aalfred and Aalbert are aardvarks who live right next to each other but have never met, as Aalfred sleeps during the day and Aalbert at night. Bird decides to play matchmaker with some brilliantly, we’ll, bird-brained plans. Luckily one of them backfires and *spoiler alert* they all live happily ever after!
I love the way their favourite things (broccoli, cheese, flowers, stars…) play into the story and become shared interests by the end, I love the funny little details in the illustrations and how very much their personalities and manners shine through despite its deadpan style. A masterclass in the understated and truly heart-warming and joyful.
Which brings us to Brenda.
Brenda may not look much like a sheep, and when she’s busy chasing her wooly friends and brewing up batches of mint sauce while planning a feast for them, she doesn’t seem to act much like one either.
But the sheep don’t mind. They love their Brenda. So much so that they try to be more like her and plan a surprise of their own for her…
Deliciously dark at times, despite being zingy neon and popping in colour, this is full of a wicked humour and dramatic irony that means little readers will delight in seeing what Brenda is up to way before the poor sheep have a clue!
The ending is fantastic too, happy enough to avoid any nightmares or tears but funny enough to stop the likes of me groaning and grumbling!
I would say I can’t wait for what Morag Hood does next (and this is true) but luckily I don’t have to, because somehow this…
…somehow passed me by, so I shall be ordering it in work this week!
Have you read any of these? Or will you be giving any of them a go now?
Have you ever met one of your favourite authors – what do you do and say?!