Hilda’s Book of Beasts and Spirits by Emily Hibbs & Jason Chan P.L and Sapo Lendario

I have made no secret of my sheer delight for Hilda and her many adventures in both graphic novel form or traditional novel, so as a true Hilda geek, I devoured this guide to her wonderful world. If you’ve never came across this blue haired adventurer, then you don’t know what you are missing!

Luke Pearson has created a fantastic lead character and plonked her straight in the middle of Trolberg, which is unlike anywhere! Due to vast array of the traditional folklore beasts and some you just couldn’t imagine their origins, it is the perfect source material to turn into a non-fiction guide. Who doesn’t want to know all about trolls or what exactly is are tide mice?

The creative team behind this book have worked wonders to produce some engaging texts and fantastic water-coloured artwork in the true spirit of Luke Pearson’s work.

Page layouts follow a similar structure with whole pages for the creature being explored with text and blue ‘notes’ revealing the thoughts of our avid adventurer, Hilda. I love how the pages have quirky, different text types littered throughout such as the ‘Naughty Children Checklist’ needed for deciding if you go in a stew, or instructions to play ‘Elf Poker’.

Now for the teacher bit. This book highlights the magic of using imaginative source material with children. Luke Pearson has created such a rich world of memorable creatures, each with a unique culture and history so writers can be inspired to create their own non-fiction texts. Whenever I taught non-chronological reports I always sought out subjects that weren’t embedded with ‘real’ facts. The not knowing can become a barrier to the children, the fear of it being wrong, yet with deerfoxes, wood folk or salt lions, the writer has free reign to be creative, witty and ‘factual’.

Hilda rocks – it is that simple!

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