Happenings at Hookwood by Michael Roll

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Happenings at Hookwood by Michael Roll

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Startup the rabbit sets out to help his friends but ends up squaring up to the fearsome King Freddie and his horde of rats. Highly entertaining adventure.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 134 Date: June 2013
Publisher: Lulu
ISBN: 1291425411

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It all begins when a pair of newlyweds move into their first home, observed by the local wildlife with varying grades of alarm. But Startup the rabbit isn't alarmed. While his mother scarpers at her first glance of the ginger cat the couple have brought along and his father watches worriedly from deep cover, Startup finds it all very interesting and exciting. Startup has a lot to learn...

... and after an unfortunate incident involving the couple's picnic lunch, our little rabbit hero is sent to help his friend, Clara Goose, who is moving house because of the dratted ginger cat. After a series of escapades and before he has a chance to become safely ensconced back at home, Startup finds himself pitted against the fearsome King Freddie and his horde of rats. Someone must save the day and Startup's name is in the frame. And if matters weren't complicated enough, newlywed Joan is expecting a baby any minute and little does Startup realise that he'll be needed to sort out *that*, too.

I did like this story. Startup is an irresistible little rabbit. He has a good heart and a generous soul. But he, like many of the children who will read about him, is impulsive and reckless at times. Luckily for Startup, he has a veritable army of friends who help him through his escapades and who are instrumental in his eventual victory over King Freddie and his rats, and in helping him ensure the safety of Joan, George and their baby. My favourite was the not-only-wise-but-also-courageous Wise Owl. The naughty animals are great too - how could you resist Squirrel Nabbit, the local pawnbroker?

My only reservation is one of interest age against reading age. The storyline and characters are suitable for emerging and newly confident readers of, say, seven and up. But the length, sentence construction and vocabulary are above what you'd expect this age group to manage. And the paperback copy I have has rather small type, relatively long chapters and no illustrations to break up the text. It may be better to choose the Kindle version and adjust the text size to make it more child-friendly. And it may be best of all to treat the book as one to read aloud and share together.

Even so, Happenings at Hookwood is a delightful little story combining an adventure, some slapstick humour and characters to love. Anthropomorphic animal characters are perenially popular with children and reading Happening at Hookwood will show you exactly why this is. There are some lovely messages about loyalty, kindness, the importance of friendship and always doing your best. And, perhaps most importantly, if things don't work out straightaway, always keep trying. Just like Startup.

I'm recommending Happenings at Hookwood as a read-aloud story, particularly if you choose the Kindle version, which is a bargain at £1.53. Barely the price of a loaf of bread. Hoppity good, as Startup himself would say.

You might also look at Sensible Hare and the Case of Carrots by Daren King. Insane, naughty and charming, this little book is easy to read, fun to share and is full of the most appalling one liners.

Buy Happenings at Hookwood by Michael Roll at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Happenings at Hookwood by Michael Roll at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Happenings at Hookwood by Michael Roll at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Happenings at Hookwood by Michael Roll at Amazon.com.


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