Leigh Hodgkinson’s tale stars a puffed-up peacock who is determined to stay centre stage
It’s difficult not to like this book’s fabulously-feathered hero with his highfalutin hankerings for stardom. At every opportunity he’s there flaunting his spectacular tail – a symphony of blues, greens and gildings of gold which, even folded, dwarfs Larry himself. Yes, if there is a book to be written, this flamboyant fellow is going to be at the heart of it. And so he’s none too happy when his neighbours get wind of it and threaten to sidle into the limelight that his very name entitles him to. Oh dear.
A simple backdrop of white sets the stage for this drama, with characters entering like actors from the wings. From sweet little Mouse to big bespectacled Elephant, they form an eclectically appealing ensemble (even if Larry doesn’t agree!)
In fact, Larry gets so fed up with their appearances he fans his tail across a double-page spread – an attention-grabbing display that’s made all the more dazzling by the addition of some fantastic foil that ‘lights’ up the page.
As well as enchanting with her illustrations, Leigh Hodgkinson weaves magic with her type; words skitter around and fly out of the page. Each character’s name has its own font, hinting at their attributes – Wolf’s is enticingly calligraphic, Bear’s is chunky and bold, Bunny’s bounces up and down. There are also some anarchic touches to be enjoyed. Larry’s graffiti-work appears on the front cover and inside, while the glowing reviews on the back cover have been suspiciously worded by Limelight Larry, Limelight Larry OBE and, um, Mister L Larry.
So where do all of Larry’s Limelight tactics get him? Not very far, actually, making this book a gentle wake-up call for any exuberant types who are in danger of revelling in the alluring rays of the limelight just a little too much.
Author notes Leigh Hodgkinson burst onto the picture book scene with Colin And The Snoozebox, the tale of a sleepy feline looking for somewhere to rest his furry head. She’s also the creator of the energetic young lady Sunny McCloud, star of Smile and Scrummy. And Hodgkinson has animation plaudits to her name, acting as the creative director on the first television series of Charlie And Lola.
Fun fact In Greek mythology, peacocks drew admiration from the loftiest of quarters. Queen of the Gods Hera was so taken with their beauty that she chose one as her emblem.