In Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds, published by Firefly Press, award winning author Horatio Clare takes us back to Rushing Wood; the home of rambunctious Aubrey and all his amazing feathered, furry and sometimes frightening friends! The follow-up to Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot (for which Horatio won the Branford Boase Book Award) it promises to be just as exciting. And it doesn’t disappoint!
Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds by Horatio Clare illustrated by Jane Matthews
In which a small boy and a house spider try to save the world….
It’s the Easter holidays, you’ve just become as small as an earwig, the swallows are back (and offering you rides), and a spider wakes you up in the middle of the night and asks you to save the world. As if that weren’t enough, the Ladybirdz turn up from Bohemia to find they’re not welcome in Rushing Wood….
Aubrey is a bit fed-up. The start of the Easter holidays has been somewhat unsettled with his parents arguing all the time. It’s a welcome, if slightly startling, distraction when Aubrey finds a new friend to share his woes with in the shape of Ariadne, a large spider. And when Hirundo the swallow turns up offering adventure, he can’t resist! With the help of the Swallow Stone he finds himself flying on the back of the bird seeing his home as never before. However, he soon realises even this magical moment can’t take his troubles away especially when Ariadne reveals there are creatures suffering everywhere and the threat of The Great Hunger is approaching! Aubrey is not the only one to feel unsettled; a new family of ladybirds have arrived in Rushing Wood hoping to make a home for themselves. Little do they realise the uproar their arrival is going to create and the turn of events that follows could change the shape of Rushing Wood forever. Aubrey soon finds himself drawn into a magical journey taking him to France and Italy, making new friends and discovering that maybe there is a way for even the smallest of people to make a difference.
Aubrey’s adventures continue in brilliant fashion in this full-of-fun second instalment with lovely illustrations by Jane Matthews bringing the story to life. The award-winning Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot is a hard act to follow, but the author absolutely does it justice. As ever, Aubrey is surrounded by brilliant characters only he can hear and talk to. I’ve always loved the idea of being able to shrink and be tiny (think Mrs Pepperpot or The Borrowers) so it instantly appealed to me when Aubrey discovers he can do this with a bit of help from the Swallow Stone. The narrative takes you on a fantastical journey through time and space, yet again bringing to life the magic of nature. The Ladybirdz family are fun characters, forming part of a tale which deals with complicated issues like the use of pesticides in farming; migration and even family upset, in an accessible way never patronising the reader. I enjoyed the array creatures who join the story such as the top-hat wearing spider Aloysius Wolf Von Wolf (brilliant name!), Bernado the Bee, Eric the Earthworm and of course the slightly mad swallow, Hirundo. But really Aubrey shines through as the ordinary boy with EXTRA-ordinary abilities – not just in talking to animals but seeing the world differently. Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds has a wonderful plot full of original and imaginative ideas that entertain throughout, demonstrating how we need to pay attention to the world and each other before it’s too late. Tolerance of others and respect for nature can make all the difference in a world that belongs to everyone.
Find out more at www.fireflypress.co.uk. Follow Horatio Clare on Twitter @HoratioClare. With thanks to Firefly Press for sending me this book to review.