Alison Green Books (Scholastic Imprint). First published 2013.
Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty
If truth be told, I had heard good things about ‘The Snatchabook’ but had never been tempted to seek it out because the cover image, in my opinion, was insufficiently bright and eye-catching enough for me to think “‘I must purchase this for my son.”
Thank goodness, then, for libraries, where I found and took it out on loan.
It was an instant hit with my six-year-old son and demanded regularly at bedtime, to the extent we are now proud owners of this book, having decided to buy a copy for keeps, such was its popularity.
“The Snatchabook” is a charming 569-word rhyming story with a beautiful sharing and forgiving theme.
The reason for the front cover being a subdued hue is because the book is set at night, under a moonlit sky, when all the creatures in Burrow Down wood are settling down for bedtime stories.
‘In every house, in every bed
A bedtime book was being read.
Tales of dragons, spitting flames;
Witches playing spooky games;
Pirates on the seven seas;
Princesses, trying to sleep on peas.
And every child, in every bed,
Listened hard to each word said.’
Night after night, the woodland creatures’ books go missing. A thief is on the loose and plucky rabbit, Eliza Brown, determines to discover who is responsible.
‘In Burrow Down the rumour spread
Of book thieves under every bed.
Eliza Brown, at Number Three,
Was keen to solve the mystery.
She planned one night to lie in wait
And use a pile of books as bait.’
Eliza does indeed find the culprit – a doe-eyed Snatchabook – who is stealing books because he has no one to read him a bedtime story.
Kindly Eliza takes pity on the sweet Snatchabook who, we learn, has no Mum and Dad to keep him ‘on the straight and narrow’ and share special moments, like bedtime reading, with him.
Eliza confronts him and tells him he must return all the books he has stolen, to the delight of her owl, badger, hedgehog, squirrel and rabbit friends.
And in true keeping with ‘a happily ever after’, the Snatchabook is rewarded for doing the right thing and making amends. The final reveal is ‘The Snatchabook’ perched contentedly on Eliza’s pillow enjoying a bedtime story.
As a tender, gentle read with cosy illustrations “The Snatchabook” is an ideal book to calm youngsters down before bedtime.
The rhyme reads beautifully aloud and the illustrations, despite my initial misgivings, complement this story with a warm blanket hug.