Tag Archive > John Burningham

Harquin

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Harquin by John Burningham, book reviewHarquin is a young fox who lives with his family at the top of the hill. Nobody knows they are there, and Harquin’s parents want to keep it that way. They tell their children never to go down to the valley for fear that someone will see them and follow them back.

Unfortunately, Harquin is bored and makes trips down to the valley at night when his family are asleep. He discovers a way across the dangerous marshes and is able to catch chickens and rabbits. Harquin’s father senses that one of the children has disobeyed him, and he reminds them that their uncle was caught by the huntsmen.


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Courtney

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Courtney (Red Fox picture books) By John Burningham, Illustrated by John BurninghamA boy and girl try to convince their parents to let them get a dog; they say it could guard the house and play with them. Mum and dad protest at first, saying that dogs need to be fed and walked, and they make a lot of mess. The children promise that they will take care of everything, and Mum gives in. The children set off for the Dogs’ Home, pushing the baby in the buggy. Their parents stress that they must get a dog with a pedigree.

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Oi! Get Off our Train

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Oi! Get Off Our Train By John BurninghamA little boy dressed in his pyjamas is scolded by his mum as he is still playing with the train on the floor at the end of his bed. He is told to go to bed at once, and mum gives him his pyjama-case dog to cuddle. There’s no goodnight kiss, however, just an order to “settle down and go to sleep”. The boy obeys.

The next two pages show a double-spread of the toy train chugging off, with smoke billowing out of the engine’s chimney. Turn over again, and the boy is seated in the engine, wearing his pyjamas and a cap. The dog, also sporting a cap, is shovelling coal into the furnace. The train speeds along over great bridges, puffing out grey smoke, and the boy thinks they might have time for a picnic. Then he notices that it looks as though it’s foggy ahead and says they could play ghosts if it is.

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Cloudland

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I only discovered John Burningham’s children’s books a couple off years ago, and I wondered why it had taken me so long to do so. The Financial Times describes Burningham as ‘one of the best writers in the business’, whilst the TES states that ‘the language of children is Burningham’s’. I wasn’t over impressed by ‘Mr Gumpy’s Outing’, but I nevertheless borrowed ‘Cloudland‘ from the library and was particularly glad that I did.

Cloudland‘ appeared to be a tragic story at the outset. Albert, a young boy, is out walking in the mountains with his parents, and they are actually above the clouds.

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Avocado Baby

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Avocado Baby (Paperback) By (author) John Burningham, Illustrated by John BurninghamMr and Mrs Hargraves, along with their son and daughter, are not the strongest specimens of the human race so they naturally hope the newest addition to the family will prove to be more robust. After the baby is born, however, Mrs Hargraves has great difficulty feeding it and finding any sort of food that it likes.

One day poor Mrs Hargraves is at her wits’ end and bursts into tears, but her son and daughter notice an avocado pear in the fruit bowl and suggest their mother feed it to their baby brother. The mystery is that nobody knows how the avocado got there, as the Hargraves certainly hadn’t bought it.

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