Mr Badger and the Difficult Duchess, by Leigh Hobbs

Mr Badger had excellent manners plus a great deal of patience. But you probably knew that already.
This is why he didn’t just manage special events at the Boubles Grand Hotel (pronounced Boublay). Mr Badger was also the Manager of Special Guests – and sometimes very special guests.
Special guests weren’t treated all that differently to anyone else. It was just that film stars and princesses, kings queens and famous orchestra conductors often caused a fuss because people wanted to stare at them and point.

Mr Badger never knows quite what his day might bring. When you are Manager of Special Events, AND of Special Guests, it could be anything. So when the Duchess de la Dodo arrives unexpectedly, demanding the Royal Suite, he deals with it with his trademark patience and goodwill. But it seems nothing is quite enough for the Duchess. Meanwhile tonight is the Annual Dinner for the Philatelic Society, and there’s the Grand Ballroom to be preparing. You know, chandeliers to be polished, parquetry to be buffed, place names to be placed and shy philatelists to be put at their ease. Of course there is drama unforeseen…

Leigh Hobbs both writes and illustrates and here his trademark quirky characters are combined with deadpan humour. The action is set in an old-style London hotel, where the guests are treated like royalty, no matter their eccentric or demanding behaviour. The reader will cheer for Mr Badger and boo the baddies in these almost-vaudeville tales. And it’s lovely to then see the unflappable Mr Badger at home with his own family doing normal things and entertaining his wife with the antics at Boubles Grand Hotel. There are illustrations on each page, breaking up the text and enriching the narrative. Ideal for newly independent readers, reluctant readers and fans of Leigh Hobbs’ stories.

Mr Badger and the Difficult Duchess

Mr Badger and the Difficult Duchess, Leigh Hobbs
Allen&Unwin 2011
ISBN: 9781742374192

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book is available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.