Hold On Tight, Stripy Horse! by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall
|Hold On Tight, Stripy Horse! by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: A rip-roaring adventure around the magical world within a bric-a-brac shop. Think Alice In Wonderland and Mary Poppins, but without being derivative. It's great fun. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: March 2010|
|External links: Author's website|
Stripy Horse and his friends live in a bric-a-brac shop. One day, they discover that it's raining inside. Ella, the pink flamingo umbrella, keeps them dry for a bit, but then she's caught by a gust of wind and Stripy Horse is pulled up into the air. Will they discover the source of the rain? Will the shop ever get dry again? And what's the deal with that weathervane parrot that keeps spouting proverbs?
Hold On Tight, Stripy Horse! is great fun. It takes the familiar idea of inanimate objects coming alive, and cranks it up. There are hints of Alice In Wonderland, Mary Poppins, and even Bagpuss, but it never feels derivative. It's surreal, it's quirky, and it all plays into the rip-roaring adventure around the bric-a-brac shop. There's a bit more plot than in your average picture book, making it best-suited for children on the cusp of reading for themselves. Younger children won't be floundering, but they won't get quite as much from it.
Karen Wall's illustrations are big, bright and cartoony. All the characters look like toys children would love to have - they're a slightly rag-tag bunch, with warm hearts and a great sense of friendship. The cartoony style feels a little out of place with the bric-a-brac shop - I'd have liked it to be a bit more real, a bit more musty. Once the rain starts falling, and their adventures kick in, it all clicks and you're thrilled to be along for the ride.
There's plenty to enjoy in Hold On Tight, Stripy Horse! and it makes a fine addition to any bookshelf. It's packed with energy, life, excitement and fun. Recommended.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
Helmore and Wall's earlier book Oh No, Monster Tomato! is just as good and warmly recommended by us. For other tales of toys coming alive, check out Red Ted and the Lost Things by Michael Rosen and Joel Stewart and The Secret To Teddy's Happiness by David Conway and Dubravka Kolanovic.
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