Solomon and Mortimer by Catherine Rayner, published by Macmillan Children's Books
If you were looking for fun in the Savannah, would you sneak up on the biggest hippo in the river? Solomon the crocodile is back, this time with twice the splash, as he is joined by his new best friend, Mortimer.
'Solomon and Mortimer' is (Kate Greenaway Medal winner) Catherine Rayner's terrific follow up to her brilliant 'Solomon Crocodile' (previously reviewed here), which ended with the promise of "double trouble".
This sequel is a tale of pranks, pelicans and peer pressure. Bored with their failed attempts to fly, look for lizards and climb trees, they spot hippo, the largest creature in the river and hatch a plan to creep up and scare him. Others see what they're up to and try to warn them off, to no avail. But surely they should heed the wiggle of the hippo's ear, the twitch of his tail and the turn of his eye?
The jungle river and its hubbub menagerie is the perfect backdrop for Rayner's glorious watercolours, which burst with life and light. Solomon and Mortimer's ill-advised adventures are first and foremost great fun and lovely to look at.
Yet the book can also serve as an ideal choice for teachers and parents as a prompt for discussions with young children about risk-taking, making choices, heeding advice and understanding consequences.