Tag Archives: Brambly Hedge

Day 182 – Sea Story (Brambly Hedge)

sea-storyIs there a day summer day – or any day, really – that isn’t made better by reading aloud together about the mice of Brambly Hedge? Today’s book, “Sea Story,” is another outstanding entry in Jill Barklem’s Brambly hedge series, telling the story of Dusty, Poppy, Primrose and Wilfred who set off for the sea in Dusty’s boat, the Periwinkle to stock up on salt.

The mice set off together on a beautiful, breezy and warm summer day to pay a much-needed visit on their cousins, the Sea Mice. Along with a little bit of peril on the “high seas”, this lovely little tale has some delightful vocabulary, charming characters (with interesting names), and of course Ms. Barklem’s intricate and fascinating illustrations! We were once again quite impressed not only by the care apparent in Ms. Barklem’s artwork, but by the colorful details of everyday life that she works into the narrative – details which really help to bring her characters and the world of Brambly Hedge alive.

Can’t wait for the next time we get to pop in on Ms. Barklem’s friends!


Day 89 – Spring Story (Brambly Hedge)

It’s a beautiful spring morning in Brambly Hedge where busy mouse families have made their homes for generations. While the mice are hard workers, they also make time for fun, and they welcome any opportunity to celebrate. All year long the mice “mark the seasons with feasts and festivities,” and this fine spring morning Mr. Apple has found another excuse to organize a soiree: little Wilfred Toadflax is celebrating a birthday today! What else is there to do but work together to plan a surprise birthday picnic for little Wilfred?  It’s a capital idea, and it all comes together perfectly in “Spring Story” by Jill Barklem.

Thanks to behind-the-scenes planning led by Mr. Apple and Lord Woodmouse, Wilfred is given an enormous basket to cart to the picnic. After much arduous “heaving and pulling, wheeling and hauling” he is rewarded for his hard work upon discovering that the basket is packed with presents and an enormous cake! At last, following a full day of preparing for the picnic, enjoying tea, napping under the bluebells (for adults), and playing hide-and-seek in the primroses (for the young mice), the mouse families return home and fall fast asleep. Sounds like a lovely day to me (especially the napping part).

spring story

“Spring Story” is one of many tales in the Brambly Hedge series by Ms. Barklem. It is a darling little book full of adorable and intricate illustrations. Ms. Barklem reportedly spent five years on research before starting her Brambly Hedge books. Her thoughtful approach and the appreciation she has of her craft comes through on the pages of her books. The drawings in “Spring Story” are carefully rendered in whimsical and vibrant detail. I can easily imagine little hands picking this book up just to pore over the fascinating depiction of the Apple Family tree house. In fact, I wanted to be able to climb inside their house myself! I also took note of the time that Ms. Barklem spends filling in little details of everyday life in the Hedge, including the many wonderful names she introduces for the characters and places (Crabapple Cottage, Store Stump, Wilfred Toadflax, Old Oak Palace, Lady Daisy Woodmouse, Elderberry Lodge, and more!). It all works together to create a complete world inside what is otherwise a fairly simple storyline.