Hack and Whack

Authored by Francesca Simon
Illustrated by Charlotte Cotterill

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Hack and Whack is a delightfully funny book around a theme familiar to all children – avoiding bedtime!

Hack and Whack are a pair of Viking children who run amock rather than obey their large, axe-wielding Mother, who chases them around the village trying to get them to bed. There is no moral or message within the book, other than that it is sometimes fun to disobey the grown-ups, knowing you’ll be caught in the end.  I’m always pleased to find a book that promotes both male and female protagonists pushing boundaries and enjoying adventures together on equal pegging.

The wide-eyed children are brought to life by new illustrator Charlotte Cotterill, who uses a limited palette and sketchy drawings to enhance the wild and chaotic theme. Some of the pages have comic book style split scenes which add to the pace but also allows teaching the order of reading from scene to scene.

I read this to a class of  6- 7-year-old children, who thoroughly enjoyed dwelling on the funny illustrations of flying pigs, flapping chickens and squashed sheep amid the chaos. The repeating rhymes and chorus allow children to join in without any encouragement, creating a spontaneous and fun atmosphere and making it a delight to read aloud. It’s a book that children will reread in the book corner time and time again.

Hack and Whack would make a perfect read-aloud for infant classes when you’ve got a spare ten minutes and just want to enjoy a book and a giggle together.