‘The Scarecrows’ Wedding’, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Publication of a new picture book by the Gruffalo team is usually an annual event but it has been two years since their last joint offering, Superworm. The Scarecrows’ Wedding is so good, however, that it is worth the wait.

Scarecrows Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay are engaged and planning “the best wedding yet, a wedding that no one will ever forget”. They compile a list of the items they will need, including a dress of white feathers and a necklace of shells, and set about obtaining them with the aid of their farmyard animal friends. In Harry’s absence, however, a new scarecrow makes a bid for Betty: Reginald Rake, a dashing cad complete with Terry Thomas moustache. Will the big day go off without a hitch?

Donaldson’s ever-recitable tumpity-tump verse is complemented by Scheffler’s shaggily detailed illustration. There’s huge warmth in every word, every drawing. There’s also a tiny Gruffalo cameo for the sharp-eyed to spot. An irresistible delight.

The Scarecrows’ Wedding, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Alison Green Books, RRP£12.99, 32 pages

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