We're thrilled to join the tour celebrating Huwie Meets the Red Fox by Dolores Keaveney. A self-publishing powerhouse who has now written and illustrated 17 picture books, Dolores is a local legend in my hometown of Mullingar. She has also been featured on national television more than once. All week, bloggers, parents and teachers are sharing their thoughts on Dolores' latest book and today it's our turn...
What's it about? Inspired by Dolores' grandchildren, Huwie Meets the Red Fox is the tale of two boys who explore the wilderness on their doorstep and make new friends along the way. As with all of Dolores' books, this is a beautiful celebration of the Irish landscape and a wonderful rhyming story that gently encourages children to connect with the world around them. What can we learn? Appearances are often deceptive and friends can be found in unlikely places.
What makes this stand out?
The lively rhyming text, how it perfectly captures the sense of childhood adventure and the joy of running freely through fields, and the stunning illustrations.
About those illustrations... Dolores paints all of her illustrations in watercolour which gives her books a unique, raw energy and a handcrafted quality. Her artwork is quite distinct from the more 'mass-produced' computer-generated images we tend to see in many children's book. Little readers can see the brush strokes and the layers of paint. I love how this highlights how the book was 'made' by someone and encourages children to create their own art and stories. Using matchstick men to represent the human characters is a clever and visually interesting narrative technique. Their simple appearance makes the natural world surrounding them even more striking. As the matchstick men are free of distinguishing features, this allows all children to identify with the characters, and to fully immerse themselves in the story.
Why we love it...
It's wonderful to have stories that demonstrate how we don't need expensive toys or elaborate technology to enjoy ourselves. Huwie Meets the Red Fox proves that everything we need is outside and free too!
Books that reflect the familiar and environments they recognise always appeal to my kids. They love spotting the various creatures and flowers in the illustrations. They were delighted to see an apple on the cover, referencing the previous book in the series, Huwie the Apple Tree. Every time we read Huwie the Apple Tree, they enthusiastically point out the bee in several scenes, who they're convinced is Dee of Dee the Bee. It's brilliant how Dolores links her books in this way especially as it makes them even more exciting for the very young.
Why you need it...
This is a spectacular story that encourages children to get outdoors and appreciate nature. The wonderful world explored in the book helps little readers get more from their own surroundings. Huwie Meets the Red Fox comes alive when read aloud and is ideal for captivating children while teaching them about wildlife. A huge thanks to Dolores for our gifted copy of this gorgeous book - all opinions expressed are our own. If you'd like to learn more about Huwie Meets the Red Fox, visit all the stops on the tour: