Sunday, 19 January 2014

Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood

The illustrations are the reason I bought this book- straight after seeing these pages on the amazon look inside thingy, I clicked buy.

But once we got it, it was the story that made us all want to re-read it. Based on a sixteenth century children's game, this is the tale of a mother and her seven children, all named after the days of the week, and a wicked old woman called Heckedy Peg.
It is deliciously old school. The children are unsupervised, they play with fire, they play beside an open fire and they let a terrifying old witch into their home while their mother is out.

It all starts with a shopping trip. Before she goes the (slim, beautiful - after seven kids?) mother asks each child what they would like from the shop. And once she departs with her basket, Heckedy Peg arrives at the window.
With little difficulty she persuades the children to let her inside, so she can light her pipe.
Whereupon she turns each of them into different foods that she plans to eat for dinner! But she underestimates their mother, who is hot on her heels.

Look in the basket - everything the children requested is in there. And when she is told that the only way to save Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday is to guess which food each of them have become, these are her clues.  Its a very clever story, with just the right amount of danger and excitement.  (And its €4.50!)

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