Review Blog

Sep 20 2010

Mr Badger and the big surprise by Leigh Hobbs

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2010. ISBN 9781742374178,
(Age 6-10) Warmly recommended. Mr Badger is in charge of special events at the Boubles Grand Hotel in London. He has been given a special assignment. He has to arrange a party for Miss Sylvia Smothers-Carruthers' seventh birthday. Together with Miss Pims, his assistant, he organises a wonderful array of food, a towering cake and decorations in the ballroom of the grand old hotel for the 205 friends that Sylvia has invited. Little does he know what is going to happen!
In the first book in the series, Hobbs introduces his characters, which I am sure children will love. Mr Badger is a warm, caring manager and Sir Cecil and Lady Celia Smothers-Carruthers, the owners of the hotel are fabulous. Not so nice is young Sylvia, who is spoilt and mean. I delighted in the antics of Sylvia, as her grand entrance is spoiled and her birthday cake destroyed. Of course Mr Badger manages to save the party for the guests and even receives a surprise himself at the end of a tiring day.
Hobbs' signature line drawings are a delight as always and really make the humour of the book come alive. The illustration of Sylvia as 'a badly behaved tangle of bright pink fairy floss' is very memorable, as is the choice of language to describe this horrible child that young readers will love to hate.
This chapter book, with its humour, memorable characters and wonderful illustrations, is sure to become a favourite with children who are just taking the plunge from picture books to larger stories.
Pat Pledger

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