Written by Francesca Simon and Illustrated by Charlotte Cotterill (Faber & Faber)
Bedtime reads just got more boisterous. Hack and Whack are two red-haired terrors who run away from their mother’s bedtime call. “We’re Hack and Whack on the attack!” they yell and promptly run away causing mayhem and damage throughout the viking village. Roaring and raging, they jump on tables, knock over pots and people and sound the call to all the village children to join them. Poor viking mum is pictured running after them, axe in hand but constantly falling or missing them.
Finally she catches up to them and then it’s not clear whether she gives them an (illegal) whack on the head or they bump into each other – but we see them sprawled on the floor with little stars and mini axes swirling round their heads. They’re then bathed and bundled into their viking boat beds – because even vikings need to sleep.
The slapstick violence and repetition of sound effects such as thwack, clack, snack, crack, smack! effectively convey the mini mayhem of their rampage. A fun read-aloud book that is best followed by something a little calmer unless you want your own mini vikings to rampage around the house! Francesca Simon is a master at conveying the terrors that children can be in a lovable and humorous way – she is the author of the hugely popular Horrid Henry series. You will be glad these two terrors are not your own children – just make sure they don’t emulate them!