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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Matlock the Hare Magician

With kindle use on the rise and children using computer gadgets before even really being able to walk, it is great to see a children’s book series that provides that little bit extra to really capture imagination and that creative flare that children have.

Some people believe that books are a dying form, but that is why that little extra spark can go a long way.

The Matlock Hare, or more specifically, ‘Matlock The Hare and The Riddle of Trefflepugga Path’ combines the two great forms of storytelling and art to give a great imagination boost to the children of today. Although many books strive towards this there are some major differences that Phil and Jacqui put into their book that makes it unique and on a different level.

The first thing you are greeted with in the book is a dictionary of special words used in this world. Words such as ‘Crumlush’ and ‘Saztaculous’ help to build a fantasy world but also gives children something they see as their own secret world, adults won’t understand these words, but they do because they are immersed in Matlock’s world.
There are admittedly a large number of these words to come to terms with upon first reading, but seeing them in context of story soon makes you fluent. Plus the words themselves are quite connected to their original meanings so ‘Saztaculous’ means ‘Fantastic’ which is close enough to work out, especially for Children who are still placing the world and getting to know it.

I think this special language is a great idea. As previously mentioned it helps the world of Winchett Dale to become their world rather than simply a world they are reading about. This sense of inclusion is of course very important for children.

Having said all this to call this work or any of the series a ‘children’s’ book is not really appreciating just how much anyone could enjoy it. The creativity and imagination makes for a great tale for anyone to become a part of. Some elements of the story had me laughing about how based on real life occurrences they are. The first meeting with the ‘krate’  has brilliant similarities to certain street preachers. This is certainly a comparison that adults would enjoy and be highly amused by. There seems to be lots of elements of social and political commentary which are nicely metaphoric and inserted into the story.

The tale itself is no quick bedtime story, there is a full world to be explored and gone into depth and the book does a great job of spreading out the storyline whilst taking a gander at all the little nooks and crannies as well as keeping things interesting. Even little bits of Lore such as Matlock’s past and the history of the world is hinted enough to peak curiosity and the desire to find the whole series to see if more pieces can be put together.

A lot about Matlock and his adventures reminds me of a magical, less depressing version of the Animals of Farthing Wood and I do think these stories would be an amazing TV show, but only if Phil and Jacqui had complete control of every aspect, which I’m sure for Jacqui’s artwork in particular would be exhausting.

The art work of the book is just beautiful and goes hand in hand with the story to pull people further into this magical world and keep them hooked.

I won’t give much more of the overall storyline away as I implore you to see for yourselves!