Henny Penny retold by Margrete Lamond with Russell Thomson ill by Tamsin Ainslie

Once, when Henny Penny was pecking at her early-morning corn, something fell on her head.

‘Cluck!’ she said. ‘Who threw that?’

But there was no reply.

So she ran one way and peered. Then she ran another way and peeked. She looked here and looked there, but she saw nothing and no one.

Once, when Henny Penny was pecking at her early-morning corn, something fell on her head.

‘Cluck!’ she said. ‘Who threw that?’

But there was no reply.

So she ran one way and peered. Then she ran another way and peeked. She looked here and looked there, but she saw nothing and no one.

Henny Penny is concerned that bits of the sky are dropping and one by one her friends join her flight from the falling sky. They are even joined by Foxy Loxy who appears to be worried about the sky too. He leads them to tell the king. But when they reach the ‘palace’ it’s not quite as they imagine and a new flight begins. Text is set on one side of each opening, illustration on the other. Illustrations are stylised and set in white paper with the landscape framing the action.

Henny Pennyis a story that has been told many times over the years. This retelling from Little Hare is part of a series of popular traditional tales revisited. Each is illustrated by an Australian illustrator. The text is accessible to an independent reader and the illustrations are just beautiful. Recommended for pre- and early-schoolers and anyone fond of traditional tales.

Henny Penny, retold Margrete Lamond with Russell Thomson ill Tamsin Ainslie
Little Hare 2014 ISBN: 9781921894954

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

www.clairesaxby.com

Scarlet in the Snow, by Sophie Masson

It was a beast, and yet not a beast. A man, yet not a man. It stood tall on two legs and was clothed in a long coat and boots. Its intelligent eyes were of a tigerish, glowing amber, set in a hairy face like a bear’s; it had a tawny mane like a lion’s, while its open mouth displayed teeth as white and sharp as a wolf. I knew at once what it was though I’d never before heard of one that could take such a mingled form. Abartyen. Shapeshifter. Man-beast

Since the death of her father, Natasha’s family has fallen on hard times. So when someone must deliver a special painting that might turn their fortunes around, Natasha knows she must go. On the way home, a terrible blizzard forces her to seek shelter and, just as she thinks all is lost, she stumbles upon a beautiful mansion. Once inside she soon senses that something strange is afoot. When she finds a perfect red rose blooming in spite of the cold, she reaches for it – and finds herself soon coming face to face with the rose’s owner. Her terror at this fearsome man-creature gradually changes until she realises she loves him. But while that love could free him, nothing is simple, and instead Natasha must undertake a dangerous journey to save her new love.

Scarlet in the Snow is a beautiful, engrossing fantasy for teen and adult readers. Readers will recognise this as a retelling of the fairy tale most commonly called Beauty and the Beast, but should not expect that this means they will know what happens, as Masson has truly made the story her own, blending fantasy and intrigue in a wonderful tale of adventure and romance.

The exquisite cover is a good indication of the quality of the take within.

 

Scarlet in the SnowScarlet in the Snow, Sophie Masson

Scarlet in the Snow, by Sophie Masson
Random House, 2013
ISBN 9781742758152

Available from good bookstores and online.