The Story: Feisty Katie Morag McColl lives on the fictional Scottish island of Struay where her father runs the general store and her mother is the postmistress. Her two grandmothers, down-to-earth, dungaree-wearing, tractor-driving Grannie Island, and stylish, sophisticated Granma Mainland – ‘a smart wee Bobby Dazzler’- are as different as chalk and cheese. When Granma Mainland comes to visit, Grannie Island is not amused – ‘Och, her and her fancy ways!’ But on the morning of the Annual Show, Alecina, Grannie Island’s prize sheep, gets filthy after a dip in the boggy loch. Quick-thinking Katie Morag saves the day when she remembers Granma Mainland’s ample supply of beauty aids.
I’m a long-time fan of Katie Morag. I love picture books that are full of satisfying details and that can be pored over again and again. Mairi Hedderwick’s richly-detailed and charming illustrations perfectly capture the small island community and the chaos of real family life. Parents will identify with the untidy clutter of the McColl’s house, and with Mr and Mrs McColl as they rush around trying to get things done on the morning of the show: “Katie Morag, I think you’d be better off helping Grannie Island get Alecina ready for the show,” sighed Mr McColl’ as Katie Morag trips over her baby brother Liam who is crouched on the floor holding the cat by the tail.
The rugged beauty of the island and its wildlife is beautifully depicted. The story is gently humorous and great to read aloud especially if, like me, you enjoy doing accents! Ages 5- 8 would enjoy having this read to them, but confident readers from 8 – 10 would enjoy reading it for themselves.
Age Range: 5 +
Author / Illustrator: Mairi Hedderwick
We are delighted that Lorraine has recommended a picture book as part of her Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich blogtour. Readitdaddy and The Book Sniffer have reviewed her picture book, Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich.
Lorraine is an Irish picture book writer. She works as a children’s librarian and has written numerous books for Irish publishing houses. Her career took a turn when she met the talented Belgian illustrator, designer and author Pieter Gaudesaboos. His great love of the formalism of 1950s illustrations, his digital drawing technique and his childlike imagination fit together perfectly and they are an ideal match for this simple but charming story. Since Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich Francis and Gaudesaboos have published seven more picture books, which have been translated into several languages.
Lorraine’s author page at Book Island