Candy Stripe Lil, an industrious little shrew, makes wobbling stacks of a Hog’s favourite food – ‘chocolate-chip beetles and slug-flavoured chips, warm jellied maggots with fruit flavoured dips’ – to tickle the fancy of both readers and pigs. But when her guest, Harry the Hog doesn’t turn up, Lil bravely sets out in thickening fog, to find him.
Along the way, she is helped by friends who remember seeing bits of things in the fog, which they wrongly took to be a hedge, batwings and a snake, disparate objects which when put together form the complete picture of Harry the Hog stuck in a bog. Together the friends pull out the beleaguered hog and return home triumphant to gorge on Lil’s feast featuring earwig fudge and barnacle sludge.
The use of a quest, imbibed with the power of three gives this story an old fashioned folk tale feel, while the delightful (sometimes disgusting) rhyming text gives it fresh appeal. The skillful illustrations use scale and composition to create a composite world we can thoroughly believe in, with beautifully realized characters (particularly the winsome little shrew). As a newcomer, Eunyoung Seo has made a promising debut.