I’m a massive fan of Pip Jones’ books so I was absolutely delighted to hear that she had teamed up with Barrington Stoke to write a story for their superb Little Gems series. Jones’ previous works, that include Squishy McFluff, Izzy Gizmo and Piggy Handsome, are all brilliant and make for excellent choices for newly independent readers and I can now add Madam Squeaker to that list.
All is not well at Hollyhock House. The rats are taking over. They are eating all the food, and worse still, they want the entire house for themselves, forcing all the other animals to go and live in The Bogland. This is completely and totally unfair and Minetta Squeaker plans on doing something about it. But Minetta is having a confidence crisis. Barely taller than a cotton reel and with a squeaky little voice no-one pays her any attention.
Encouraged by a wise owl, Minetta is determined to save her friends and get the rats to change their ways so she sits everyone down to dish out some important life lessons. But can someone so little be heard? Will the rats be willing to dish out their food? Will there be harmony in Hollyhock House?
Greedy rats, a mouse on a mission and some wise words from an owl make for the most delightful of reads. Madam Squeaker is an utterly gorgeous little story that readers will adore and I will be squeaking about and recommending it to all newly independent readers. Warm-hearted and full of charm, children will love joining Minetta on her adventure as she tries to save her home, her friends and ensure that everyone gets a full tummy.
There are so many wonderful lessons for young children in this short read. Minettea is adorable and epitomises the message that you don’t have to be big to be brave. She is courageous, stands up for what is right and will not accept the bullying ways of the rats. Even though she is small and her voice is little more than a squeak, she learns that she still has the power to ‘squeak out’ and proves that it only takes one person, or in this case, a tiny grey-brown mouse, to make a big difference.
The entire book is a treat. An eye-catching front cover immediately grabs the attention of the reader. With several books laid out on the table my wife commented, “I like that one,” as she pointed to Madam Squeaker. Inside are several short chapters and manageable chunks of text that provide the perfect opportunity for young children to build up their reading stamina. Accompanying the story are cute and colourful illustrations by Paula Bowles. The personalities of the characters pop off the pages, I personally love the mischievous looks on the faces of the rats. Added extras come in the form of a spot-the-difference and a maze that can be found on the inside front and back covers.
True to Barrington Stoke form, this read is printed in dyslexia friendly font and on tinted paper ensuring the book can be accessed by every child.
Huge thanks to the lovely peeps at Barrington Stoke for this delightful book.
Recommended for 5+.