Hans and Matilda
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This issue's cover illustration by David Wyatt is from C J Busby's Cauldron Spells (978 1 8487 7085 0, £5.99 pbk). Thanks to Templar Publishing for their help with this March cover.
Matilda the little cat is such a good girl, so sweet and thoughtful but Hans, another little cat, is noisy and naughty – even stealing some keys and releasing the animals from the zoo. ‘Naughty Hans!’ muses Matilda, thoughtfully as she observes the bedlam that Hans has unleashed. But just when the reader can’t stand another moment of prissy Matilda who also appears to be a snitch, there is a surprise twist to this dead pan, witty tale.
Yokococo’s stylishly minimal illustrations with their black outlines and muted palette on matt stock focus, via offbeat angles and perspectives, on dramatic sequences as Hans climbs into the zoo or Matilda sets up the surprise denouement. The clue to this surprise is of course visual and the alert reader will note that goody goody Matilda features in the daytime scenes while naughty Hans appears in the night-time scenes (from which the colour has been bleached to black and grey). Young readers know a lot about being good and being naughty and will much enjoy the humorous way they are treated in this well conceived and executed debut picture book.