The Guinea Pig Gardener and the Great Escape (5+) by Caroline Pankhurst
Illus. Maude Smith, Jelly Bean Books 2021
Being a lover of most things quaint and quirky, I was thrilled to unwrap this sequel to The Guinea Pig Gardeners. Like the last, this beautifully produced hardback is not much taller and certainly no longer than your average guinea pig. But it’s sweeter and far more entertaining!
Once again these characterful, strong-minded creatures club together, this time to rescue Sweet Pea, a baby squirrel. Besides Humphrey, the environmentally conscious Guinea Pig Gardener, your child will be introduced to a host of new characters, including Badger, Red Admiral the butterfly, Foxglove the fox, Daphne the deer and Rosemary Rabbit.
Words could never quite do justice to Maude Smith’s adventurous and imaginative colour palette. Enlarged, almost any one of her dreamy, full-page illustrations would make a magical, thought-provoking addition to a young child’s playroom. I particularly admired the squirrels’ treehouse where the animals retire to a feast of nut roast and dandelion wine. If only we could join them!
Caroline Pankhurst is Education & Project Manager at South London Botanical Institute.
Maude Smith is a maker, decorator, creator and painter. She designs tiles, illustrates children’s books, makes clothes, styles for photoshoots and paints murals and furniture.
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