A Year in Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem

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A Year in Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Just as gorgeous to look at, and as comforting to read as it was thirty years ago. This delightful collection would make a perfect gift for a little girl.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0007371662

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It makes me feel old to see a 30 years anniversary edition of the Brambly Hedge stories...I remember loving them as a little girl, and 30 years on reading them with my daughter I find that they've lost none of their charm. This beautiful collection takes us through a year in the lives of the mice of Brambly Hedge. There are four books, one for each season, and they are all delightful.

I think what I like most about these stories are the gorgeous illustrations. They're so delicate and detailed. There are so many things to pore over: the flowers of the hedgerow remind me of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady they are so detailed and lifelike. Then there are pages showing the mice in flurries of activity, such as a page in the Summer Story which shows the flour and dairy mills with teeny tiny pots lining the shelves, cheeses maturing, utensils and machinery and waterwheels...all contained within one little burrow and all depicted on just one page! The mice themselves are akin to Beatrix Potter's animals since they look much as field mice really do, only they're dressed in human clothes! They're sweet little things, and again there are lots of details to see in their costumes.

The stories are fun, usually involving a feast or party of some kind, and they hark back to a gentle, old-fashioned life that is a nice place to share with young children. My four year old daughter was mesmerised by the stories, sitting patiently through each one and spending time looking at the pictures too. They're lovely stories to share at bedtime, and I enjoy how in this particular collection they move through the seasons. I have to admit that even without my daughter beside me, I happily spent time looking through the stories, enjoying all the pictures, taking in the tiny details, and I think this appeal across the generations is why the little mice of Brambly Hedge are still around thirty years after they were first published.

The stories have lots to please little ones, with a winter ball (what fun! I wish my street would have one!), a surprise birthday picnic, a little mouse who gets lost and my favourite story of all which has a lovely summer wedding. They're a good length for reading aloud, but would equally make a good book for newly confident readers to enjoy by themselves. This boxed set is beautifully put together and would make a delightful gift (and probably mum or grandma would enjoy it too!)

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: For a very different mouse story you could try Mouse Trouble by John Yeoman.

Buy A Year in Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Year in Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy A Year in Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Year in Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem at Amazon.com.


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