The Great Snortle Hunt, Claire Freedman, ills Kate Hindley, Simon&Schuster, $19.95

DURING a picnic in the park, Mouse and his adventurous friends Dog, Cat and later Rabbit decide to go in search of the legendary Snortle, a huge, hairy beast who lives in a suitably spooky house on a “bumpy-steely” hill.

They all meet in the park on a moonlit night (the Snortle loves moonlight) but before they set off, the group double check their somewhat eclectic ‘Snortle Hunting’ equipment – torch, rope, fishing rod, odd socks and of course, cake. All momentous expeditions should include cake.


Together they make their way past the pond, up the hill, into the house (the door slams shut behind them), and up the stairs until they find themselves right outside the Snortle’s bedroom. What happens next surprises everyone.

Claire Freedman’s lively, rhyming story builds beautifully, but for maximum effect, it’s really best read out loud. Kate Hindley’s illustrations are detailed – don’t miss the portraits hanging on the wall as the gang make their way up the stairs. Most of the illustrations take up a double-page, and in a simple but effective touch, when the story calls for the characters to climb out a window and down a drainpipe, the image switches to vertical.
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Playful and quirky, there’s lots to enjoy about this picture book about four furry friends and the ‘monster’ that  changes all their lives.


Readers three and up.


How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth, Michelle Robinson, illus Kate Hindley