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Hamlet and the Tales of Sniggery Woods
     

Hamlet and the Tales of Sniggery Woods

by Maggie Kneen
 

Young Hamlet loves to cook, but so far he’s only dabbled with dishes like Invisible Worm Tart with dandelion cream. As luck would have it, Hamlet inherits a café from his uncle Alf. Heralding the advice of King Heron—To Bake the Best Biscuit, A Young Pig Should Risk It—Hamlet takes the plunge and becomes the new owner of Hamlet’s

Overview

Young Hamlet loves to cook, but so far he’s only dabbled with dishes like Invisible Worm Tart with dandelion cream. As luck would have it, Hamlet inherits a café from his uncle Alf. Heralding the advice of King Heron—To Bake the Best Biscuit, A Young Pig Should Risk It—Hamlet takes the plunge and becomes the new owner of Hamlet’s Pantry. Together, his friends help him prepare the menu and get ready for opening day. Set in the enchanting world of Sniggery Woods, these three winning tales bring to life the adventures of an imaginative pig destined to follow his dream.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“It’s so cozy and cheerful, readers will crave more than just this taste of Hamlet’s adventures anyway.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Steeped in the literary tradition that features an idyllic English landscape peopled by dressed animals, the…interesting stories and gentle illustrations combine to create an atmosphere of cozy charm.”—Booklist

Children's Literature - Sarah Knight
Hamlet and The Tales of Sniggery Woods is a children's story that follows the maturation of a pig as he makes his way in the world. Combining artistry and entrepreneurship, Hamlet is not the typical pig. Blessed with a brilliant palette, Hamlet is a wonderful young chef, combining ingredients to make tasty meals for his friends and family. Opportunity strikes as Hamlet's uncle passes on and leaves Hamlet a cafe. Hamlet, still a young pig, is afraid to venture out on his own and reopen the restaurant. However, after seeking advice from King Heron, Hamlet eventually opens the restaurant but is unsuccessful, as there are other restaurants in town. Eventually Hamlet transforms the restaurant into a cooking school and teaches his fellow pigs the art of cooking. Hamlet experiences numerous mishaps along his journey and learns the lessons of cooperation, teamwork, and improvisation. Additional characters who support Hamlet in his journey are King Heron, a bird-king who seems anything but a birdbrain. King Heron offers wisdom, experience, and insight to the young pig. Also Hamlet's cousin Gloomy, a single mother of two, dabbles in the art of witchcraft—equipped with a cauldron, spiders, and a witch hat. Gloomy is eager to help Hamlet in anyway she can. Balancing motherhood with work, Gloomy's domestic space is a workspace as she produces knitted blankets and homemade juices. Hamlet and the Tales of Sniggery Woods is beautifully written and captures the imagination. The use of irony, imagery, and characterization makes for an enjoyable children's book. Reviewer: Sarah Knight
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3

Hamlet Piggins inherits a café from his uncle, which he turns into a successful cooking school with the help of his family and friends. The three episodes are set in a whimsical world with frilly names for the characters and places. From Foxearth Fen to Molefurrow Market, Kneen's old-fashioned watercolor illustrations, depicting Sniggery Woods and its denizens, are well suited to the story, a seeming homage to the work of Beatrix Potter. However, the overabundance of modifiers and unnecessary details obscures the action and renders the cast of animals one-dimensional plot propellers, undifferentiated and not endearing. The general idea is solid, but the stories move along in fits and starts, none of them truly satisfying. Hamlet can't compare to classic pigs Wilbur and Babe, and for a more modern but equally charismatic pig, Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson reigns supreme.-Rebecca Dash, New York Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Hamlet the swine has quite the nose for food. He uses all the herbs and shrubs found in the Sniggery Woods to create the most wonderful dishes. When he receives a restaurant from his Uncle Alf, he transforms the kitchen into a cookery school with his friends' earnest help. Interesting characters, from cousin Gloomy with her bubbling cauldron to King Heron with his wise counsel, populate the brief sentences. A warm authorial voice permeates the inviting narrative: "And here we must leave them for a short while, to see what they can make of that mess." Descriptive phrases suit the soft watercolor scenes; vivid landscapes and soft vignettes decorate each page. Miniature details from Hamlet's hearth and home convey the restful surroundings. Detailed maps depict the village's countryside, providing a refined setting. As an ambitious cast of characters is introduced, more background would add spice to the three connected stories, but it's so cozy and cheerful, readers will crave more than just this taste of Hamlet's adventures anyway. (Fiction. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805077018
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
05/26/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
80
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

MAGGIE KNEEN has illustrated many books for young readers, including Mouse Tail Moon and Toad by the Road. She lives in Cheshire, England.

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