The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty, published by Alison Green Books
After her third birthday, our eldest daughter helped write thank you cards to all the people who came to her party by drawing some original art in each one. Some of these multicoloured felt tip creations were a little abstract, but she was adamant that each was representative of her intended subjects.
These included a plate of bacon and eggs, a seacow and a tree with leaves falling down. In several, including the card for her granny and grandpa, she drew a mouse's house, complete with a bed, stairs and a downstairs toilet.
On receiving her card, granny identified the source of the enclosed artwork's inspiration - the intricate world of Burrow Down, the cosy grove that provides the backdrop to the marvellous The Snatchabook by Helen and Thomas Docherty.
The Snatchabook is now well established as a favourite read. Its well-paced rhyme and warm, detailed illustrations perfectly combine to produce a delightful tale of nocturnal creatures whose books disappear, set in the dens, nests and warrens of a forest of old oak trees.
As all the little creatures settle down for bedtime stories, the book's protagonist, a young rabbit called Eliza Brown, is reading to herself in bed when suddenly her favourite book disappears. The same is happening elsewhere in the forest to hedgehogs, owls and squirrels.
Rumours spread as to who is to blame, as more books go amiss. Eliza hatches a plan to catch the mischievous perpetrator in the act. Happily, the mystery is solved and amends are made, with the story introducing subtle concepts of empathy and forgiveness.
As night falls we see a happy scene of families enjoying books together. Once again "in every house, in every bed, a bedtime book was being read".