Friday 9 September 2011

Mr Badger and the Magic Mirror

Mr Badger and the Magic Mirror by Leigh Hobbs (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $13.99
ISBN 9781742374208
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Mr Badger and the Magic Mirror is the fourth installment in this delightful series for early primary school readers. It is a pleasure to re-visit the Boubles Grand Hotel and the rather eccentric Smothers-Carruthers family. Quirky illustrations on almost every page add greatly to the text and help to make Mr Badger and his friends come alive.

Hard-working Mr Badger, although he would never complain, needs a holiday. He finds a strange mirror at the hotel and is amazed to be able to step into it, and to find a beach, a castle and a fun-park. Sir Cecil Smother-Carruthers takes Mr Badger on a fantastical tour of 'Boublay land'. They meet a familiar-looking and rather short pirate and Algernon, the stuffed ape from the glass case in the foyer of the hotel. All too soon Mr Badger is bounced back into the reality of the hotel, with Lady Cecilia complaining about the Australians who eat all the scones.

This story is book-ended nicely by a tired Mr Badger, reading a story to his children at the end of the day. Apart from one unusually long sentence, the writing is very suitable for early readers. Children will be encouraged to increase their vocabulary with words such as whirligig, papier-mâché, galleon and cutlass.

Mild-mannered and bespectacled, Mr Badger makes a quiet and unassuming hero. It is impossible not to become quite fond of him by the end of this imaginative tale.  

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