Sally Magnusson - Horace and the Haggis Hunter (4 stars)

The BBC newsreader teams up with husband Norman Stone to create illustrated children's story

Sally Magnusson - Horace and the Haggis Hunter

Better known for reading the news on the BBC, Sally Magnusson has now turned her hand to writing children’s books – enlisting the help of husband Norman Stone for the illustrations.

Resolutely Scottish, Horace and the Haggis Hunter brings to life our national dish, and gives it legs, a pouch, hair gel and a trumpeting nose. Left to fend for himself after the nearby farmer sees the teatime potential of his mother, Horace finds a new set of friends to keep him out of harm’s way. A vegetarian fox, cute mouse, military mole and two resourceful birds all conspire to keep Horace away from the hunter (aka farmer Angus McPhee).

At first it seems as though Magnusson has written a charming countryside tale, timeless in its innocence. But in keeping with the current zeitgeist, sending messages on Twitter is the kind of tweeting these birds do – a decision that may well date this book when the next communication craze comes along.

For the moment, though, it’s a fun, gentle and engaging bedtime story, that’s as much fun to listen to as it is to read, while Stone’s dynamic and colourful illustrations perfectly capture the key moments in this tale of triumph over adversity.

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