Title: The High HillsThe High Hills
Author: Jill Barklem
Pages: 32
Recommended Ages: Read-Aloud or Beginner
Star Rating: ★★★★★

From the ‘Brambly Hedge’ series. D’aww.

The Story.

Oh no! The voles in the High Hills have just discovered that the moths have eaten all of their quilts, and winter is fast approaching! What can be done?

Down in the valley, Lily and Flax decide that they will help out by making blankets on their looms. Wilfred wants to help, but he is too little of a mousekin to operate the loom. However, he’s not too young to help carry the blankets into the High Hills and, when he and Mr. Apple get lost, Wilfred turns out to be a well-prepared little wilderness explorer! But can he navigate his way back to the valley and to home?


I really enjoyed this little book. Its illustrations [if you’ll pardon me for saying it] were just as adorable as Beatrix Potter’s have ever been. Because the subject matter was similar (clothed, house-living, blanket-making mice), it’s easy to compare the styles, and I’d say that Jill Barklem’s rivals Potter’s. So much for the illustrations – now what of the story?

To tell the truth, I liked this story better than I have liked any of Potter’s stories! The setting was less provincial, the story more adventuresome, and it had none of the creepy elements that sneak into some of Potter’s stories.

Wilfred was an adorable little thing. Upon being told that he was too young to use the loom, he wandered off with a book and read about the adventures of Sir Hogweed Horehound, after which he could think of nothing but embarking on his own adventure. When the opportunity comes to explore, he does so with a happy abandon that is fun to follow. In the end, his adventures come to a fruitful close, and he returns to the happy warmth of his home.

One tiny thing that surprised and bothered me was that the editors failed to notice the use of the word “while” where “wile” should have been used.

Conclusion. Darlingly cute.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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