Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds – Horatio Clare illustrated by Jane Matthews

I absolutely loved ‘Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot’, although you wouldn’t know that because I secretly read it and savoured it all to myself and didn’t share it with you the readers of my blog and for that I can only apologise. But luckily for us all Horatio Clare has brought Aubrey back in another incredible adventure, ‘Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds’ beautifully illustrated by Jane Matthews. This time Aubrey has a lot more to save than his father, the spiders want him to save the world after a diplomatic incident involving the Ladybirdz family upsets the delicate balance of nature. But with his parents rowing and the fact he’s accidentally been shrunk to the size of an earwig Aubrey feels totally overwhelmed. How can one tiny boy save the world, even one who can talk to the animals.

I love how this extraordinary tale manages to deal with many complex issues whilst still whisking the reader away on an incredible adventure. Horatio brings to life the animals in a way that makes you care about what happens to them and really feel for the struggles they have. When the Ladybirdz family arrive it takes the reader three pages before you realise that they are in fact ladybirds not a human family embarking on a new life. The behaviour they encounter from the other ladybirds who are suspicious about these new arrivals because they look strange and sound strange is quite horrific and allows children to understand how migrant families may suffer discrimination. Yet this disharmony isn’t the only action that is disturbing the earth, our disregard for the environment through excessive consumptions plays a key role too, as Aubrey discovers when he meets Pascale  as he tries to find a solution to this insurmountable problem.

Exceptional storytelling combined with an exploration of important issues that the world is currently facing makes ‘Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds’ a must have read. Jane Matthews sublime illustrations enhance this story capturing the sheer scale of the task Aubrey faces in his unwanted quest to save the planet. They manage to conjure up this remarkable world where you can travel through time on a spider web, shrink yourself using a swallow stone and have a boy who has genuine relationships with animals.  Wonderfully compelling this is a story that will stay in my mind for a really long time.

 

Thank you to Firefly Press for sending me a copy of this stunning book.

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