Review Blog

Aug 15 2012

The great snortle hunt by Claire Freedman

cover image

Ill. by Kate Hindley. Simon and Schuster, 2012. ISBN 978 0857072627.
(Ages 5+) Highly recommended. Picture book. Investigation. Three friends, Mouse, Dog and Cat dare to climb the hill to the house where the Snortle lives. In delightful rhyming couplets the trio talk of their fear and trepidation at searching for the Snortle, the monster that nobody has ever seen. Along the way, Rabbit joins the group, adding his knowledge to the scraps of information already gathered. Each step takes them closer to the monster, and each page underlines the bravery of the group.
This endearing tale grabbed me form the start with its play on words. The lines: On a hill bumpy-steepy, there's a house scary-crreepy, open the book, then words are added which confirm the readers' fears. The group creeps up the hill, stuttering as they hear some strange sounds, dropping the torch when Rabbit falls from the trees, gulping, creeping, whispering their way up the stairs. But they keep on going. Even when hearing the appalling noises that the Snortle makes, growls, groans, gurgly moans, they do not hold back.
The illustrations add to the fun of the group in this hunt, as the four animals are portrayed convincingly in their wide eyed adventure, pushing each other along in their quest. The look of each page is different, the illustrator employing different sizes of font to stress various things happening, and the words reflecting the fears of the group. The text follows different routes across the pages, adding to the fun of reading the book, and showing the readers that text does not have to be static.
The whole is a pleasure to read and look at and will be readily picked up by students. Teachers will see uses in the book when talking to students about danger, listening to rumours, investigating and of course, befriending others. It would also make a thunderously good read-aloud.
Fran Knight

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