Douglas is packing for a sleepover at Rabbit’s. He’s a bit beside himself at the prospect, and on the way to Rabbit’s warren, he gets a wee bit lost. Climbing a sapling to see where he’s going, the twig-like tree breaks under Douglas’s weight and he ends up almost squishing Little Sheep (and friends).
Feeling very sorry about that, Douglas invites Little Sheep along for the sleepover, certain it will be okay – “. . . there’s plenty of room at Rabbit’s.” Perhaps not so much room, however, when a stack of sweet little sheep inadvertently attach themselves to Douglas’s backpack, and come along for the ride.
Seeing Rabbit attempt to graciously host a mighty bleat of sheep in his modest warren for the night, is comedy magic – something Melling does so very well. With a bit of shoving, cramming and cross-section imagery to see what’s going on inside Rabbit’s warren, kids will delight in the critters’ hilarious attempt at brushing teeth, snaffling some blanket and prepping for Rabbit’s bedtime story.
But wait – Rabbit can’t fit! How on earth can he read everyone their goodnight tale?
One whopping great sneeze and some cork-popping sheep quickly necessitates a change of venue, and the large group of sleepyheads finally get some shuteye.
This is my favourite yet of the Douglas picture books. Melling’s stunning illustrations have yet again nailed the comedy and detail he is renowned for. With each little sheep (loving the one with the striped bloomers and glasses!) hosting a priceless facial expression, it’s pure pleasure meandering the pages to delight in the scene. And our big Hugless Douglas is as charming as ever.
A winner for the younger set.
Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep is published by Hodder Children’s Books.