by Pam Newman
Michelle Holland, illustrator
NEW! Short Review
Back Cover: A wonderful story about a hedgehog named Horatio who has moved into a new house in a pile of leaves that the wind has blown against a tree. Now all he needs is to furnish his home with items to make a cosy little dwelling. He meets up with various animals in the neighborhood on his path who have items they no longer need and rather than throwing these away, Horatio offers to take them off their paws by way of recycling for his new home resulting in a lovely, warm and comfortable house.
First Sentence: Horatio Hedgehog was a very busy.
What the Story is About: Horatio Hedgehog has moved into a tree with an entrance hidden by windswept leaves. His old house, washed away by a storm, left him in need of new digs. Normally, Horatio does not venture far from home, but he needs things to make his new home, well, a home. The first item Horatio decides he needs is a doormat. He went walking down a path until he met up with Mrs. Rabbit. He told her his need and she had an old red carpet that fit his need perfectly. Throughout the day, Horatio continues to walk in different directions, hoping to find the items he wishes for his new home.
What I Think: Horatio’s New House is a small 4 X 4 book full of cute illustrations. The text is an easy, fun read that parents will not mind re-reading to their young children. There is repletion to Horatio’s adventure. He walks down a path, meets a neighbor, exchanges pleasantries, and then takes an unwanted item off their hands. Horatio recycles each item, often repairing it first. By book’s end, Horatio is tired, but has a cozy home and a soft, cozy bed to lie down.
The repetition is good for children learning how to read. They can anticipate the next line and begin to recognize words. This repetition may show up in their play later that day or the next, helping to spark imagination. Horatio recycles all of the unwanted items into his home. This good stewardship of the land teaches children that broken items can have new life and not everything broken is useless. Trash heaps are out of control in many places, so this is a valuable and neighborly thing for children to understand.
The illustrations are simple. Most lie below the text, which pushes the eyes to the words first. Done in shades of brown, the minimalistic images contain our hero Horatio, the animal neighbors he encounters, and the broken item he accepts and fixes. There is not a lot of extraneous detail to distract young eyes.
I like Horatio’s New House for its simplicity. I think this is a cute book young children will enjoy. I wish the pages were thicker, more like a board book so little hands could more readily turn the pages without tearing or needing help. I also would have liked a larger book; more along the tradition picture book size, if not a more traditional 7 ¼ x 7 ¼ inch square board book. Otherwise, I love the story and the anthropomorphic characters. Except for Horatio, who has rosy cheeks and green boots, the speaking characters all look as one would expect.
Horatio’s New House should appeal to young children. It is long enough—or short enough, depending on your viewpoint—to make a lovely bedtime story. Children will fall fast asleep thinking of ways to add new life to old toys, or picturing a cute Hedgehog who has finally found a wonderful bed in which to lay his head.
NEW! Short Review is HERE
Michelle Holland, illustrator website blog facebook twitter
Released June 20, 2013
Ages: 3 to 6
© 2013 Pam Newman, used with permission
Text: Copyright © 2013 by Pam Newman
Illustrations: Copyright © 2013 by Michelle Holland
Pen Press is an imprint of Indepenpress Publishing Limited
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