Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Something Magic? - Felicity Fair Thompson's 'Hugo the Hungry Pig' reviewed

Hugo the Hungry Pig 
by Felicity Fair Thompson
Wight Diamond Press

In December we mentioned Felicity Fair Thompson's novel The Kid on Slapton Beach (see Chillies, Sherman tanks and super-moons.) Felicity has kindly sent us some of her other books so here we review something for a rather younger audience:

Something magic. The brush ran round the paper. This something looked like a pig. Ben gave it little ears and a curly tail. He coloured it orange and painted huge blue flowers on its back. He called his pig Hugo.

Felicity Fair Thompson's first book for very young children - Hugo the Hungry Pig - is an agreeable tale.  Adults can read it aloud and it seems perfectly designed for reading and sharing together.  An extra dimension of interactivity is provided by an occasional page for colouring in, space for adding a 'magic picture' of one's own and a dot-to-dot. All Wight Diamond Press's books are beautifully produced and Hugo the Hungry Pig is no exception.

The story is uncomplicated enough but the author conveys, in very simple language, a reassuringly warm and loving relationship between Ben and his mother.  Mum is an artist who finds time to take Ben to the library and on trips to the park where they can sketch together.  If there's a moral to the story it's that artistic activity, creativity and the imagination are to be valued. When Ben asks his teacher to explain what magic is, she says, 'Well, it's sort of special. Something you can't explain.'  Hugo the Hungry Pig reminds us that the things that are special and hard to explain are worthwhile.

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Tony Gillam is Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Wolverhampton, a freelance writer, trainer and musician. He is the author of 'Reflections on Community Psychiatric Nursing' (2002) and 'Creativity, Wellbeing and Mental Health Practice' (2018).