Tag Archives: Hannah Shaw

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

Wolves are the common denominator in these two books. Who Ate Auntie Iris? is an easy reader by Sean Taylor and Hannah Shaw, and it’s all about courage. And possibly about having preconceived ideas about people. Me, I just couldn’t resist the title.

Sean Taylor & Hannah Shaw, Who Ate Auntie Iris?

The courageous one is a small chinchilla who is always a wee bit nervous when visiting her Aunt Iris, because her flat is at the top of a block seemingly inhabited by very large and dangerous animals with dreadfully big teeth. And when her aunt disappears, she feels it’s her task to find out which of the neighbours ate her.

Not everything is as it seems, however. A sweet story, and hopefully it won’t make readers more scared of the neighbourhood bears, wolves or crocodiles than they already are. Despite the teeth.

And while I’m not resisting, it was the names of the author and her illustrator that made me look twice at Very Little Red Riding Hood. Heapy & Heap. You couldn’t make it up.

Very Little Red Riding Hood sets of for her Grandmama’s house, and because she is so little, it’d be easy to assume she’s in more danger than the ‘usual Little Red Riding Hood.’ But it’s not exactly a picnic being a wolf, either. VLRRH is a feisty, if tiny, girl. She’s just fine until…

Teresa Heapy & Sue Heap, Very Little Red Riding Hood

Very Entertaining, and a nice take on a traditional tale.

Archie’s Unbelievably Freaky Week

Andrew Norriss, Archie's Unbelievably Freaky Week

I was thinking of Andrew Norriss only the other week when it was the Stockport Book Awards, as it was here that I ran into him a couple of years ago. Archie’s Unbelievably Freaky Week is the first of his books that I’ve read, however.

And what a fun book it is! The cover depicts a spider, a woman wearing patterned knickers and man with a WC on his head, and I don’t generally fall for this kind of thing. But it seemed to be intelligently written, so I gave it a go.

Archie is accident-prone. Or perhaps they are not so much accidents, as just plain weird things that keeps happening. You just wouldn’t believe it. Staff at Archie’s school do believe it, however, because they have got used to it. Still a bit hard to deal with these unexpected and ridiculous scenarios.

Luckily for Archie, he has a good friend who helps him out, unless she’s also stuck inside one of his freaky incidents.

It is all most unlikely. Fun. And plenty of happy ever afters.

(All freaky happenings suitably illustrated by Hannah Shaw.)

(Some) badness is in

Rats, raccoons, spirally pasta princesses and The Ass. (That’s not rude, btw.) That’s what we have to offer today. Picture books have been read, and let me tell you how shocked we are.

It seems crime is in. And by that I don’t mean crime as a genre, which I wholeheartedly approve of. No, young readers are to be taught to misbehave. To steal, to be bad.

Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler, The Highway Rat

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler have a bad – if nicely rhyming – criminal rat. A fat rat. The Highway Rat. He steals things off nice people. He’s not nice at all. But luckily he gets his come-uppance in the end.

Hannah Shaw, School for Bandits

Raccoons are no better. In Hannah Shaw’s School for Bandits Mr and Mrs Raccoon are concerned for their useless son. Ralph Raccoon is quite nice, which is so not on, and they send him to Bandit School. That’s not very nice for Ralph. Then he accidentally wins the Best Bandit competition, and he gets an opportunity to show his hooligan classmates how to do it.


In You Can’t Scare a Princess by Gillian Rogerson and Sarah McIntyre we have pirates. They need to be taught a lesson, too, and who better than Princess Spaghetti? (Personally I think she looks more like Princess Spiralli Pasta, but what do I know?) So much badness. And then you think the Princess has sorted those awful pirates, when in actual fact they only have more and better crime on their minds.

Jeanette Winterson and Rosalind Mac Currach, The Lion, the Unicorn and Me

So thank goodness for The Lion, the Unicorn and Me by Jeanette Winterson and Rosalind MacCurrach. It features an ass with not just a heart of gold, but a nose as well.

You think you’ve read all the Christmas stories. They are all variations on the same theme and how many can there be? Well, this was a new one to me, although I see it’s been around a few years. I read it from a sense of duty to begin with, but found pretty soon that I loved it. It’s beautiful, and would be a good book to read with a young friend when Christmas comes.

Jeanette Winterson and Rosalind Mac Currach, The Lion, the Unicorn and Me

Which it will do far too soon.

I always did have a soft spot for donkeys, though.