A Hare, a Hound and Shy Mousey Brown (Julia Hubery, illus by Jonathan Bentley, Little Hare)
Love never runs smoothly, as we all know, and love is blind. Shy Mousey Brown is in love, but his beloved doesn’t even notice him. She’s an exuberant female and spends her time dancing around with gay abandon, just enjoying being alive. But true love knows no fear and when the object of his desire is under threat, Mousey Brown saves the day and wins her heart—not with a sword but a feather as his only weapon. The rhyming text is really fun to read, especially aloud. It’s written with the same energy that fills the characters. It is daring, bold, funny and heartwarming. With only the three characters to fill the illustrations, the pages could have been rather repetitive, but they are filled with such energy and the build-up of suspense when Hare is in danger is effectively engaging. The deceptively simple drawings of the animals, clear and crisp against white backgrounds, with not much else to distract young readers, complement the story perfectly and the build-up of danger will cause a few goosebumps. This is a well-crafted, satisfying picture book for young readers, or a perfect book to share at storytime. It is highly recommended.
Margaret Hamilton is a former children’s book publisher. She now provides freelance publishing services and runs Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage in Blackheath, NSW