Prather’s Pick: Who is stealing the books? |

Prather’s Pick: Who is stealing the books?

Diane Prather
Diane Prather

All of the animal characters in this week’s picture book like to read. At night they have a routine. Everybody settles down with a book, and the parents read to their children. “The Snatchabook” was written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty, a husband and wife team. The couple lives in Wales.

“The Snatchabook” by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty

The story takes place in Burrow Down, and what a charming place it is, too. Rabbits, hedgehogs, mice, squirrels, hogs, and other animals live in a forest. Some animals have homes in burrows under the ground; others live in the tree trunks, some pretty high up. Each home has a window so at night the forest is dotted with lights. The reader can see the animals all cuddled up, engrossed in their books.

“In every house, in every bed, a bedtime book was being read.” (The story is told all in rhyme.)

One bunny, Eliza Brown, has a burrow home of her own. Her bed is in one corner of the room. Books are arranged on shelves around the bed, and a lamp — the shade decorated with carrots — provides light for reading. Eliza is reading a book about Little Red Riding Hood (a bunny). It’s a dark, dark night, and suddenly her storybook disappears through the open window!

The animals are reading about pirates, witches, dragons, and princesses so nobody has noticed a strange-looking creature sitting on a tree branch outside. He has a pointed nose and pointed ears, big eyes, a long tail with a tuft at the end, and wings that look like they belong on a dragonfly.

Eliza is surprised that her book has disappeared; it happened so fast. Then the other animals lose their books, too, and the storybook stealing continues night after night until pretty soon the bookshelves are bare. The animals peek under their beds. Is the thief hiding there?

Finally Eliza Brown sets out to solve the mystery. She stacks some books up on the floor of burrow, right where the thief can see them. Sure enough, pretty soon Eliza sees a shadow on the floor. She opens the window wide and yells at the thief. And then she hears a voice and there’s the Snatchabook. He sits down on Eliza’s knee and explains what is going on.

This is a cute book with beautiful illustrations. Read it to your children, but watch out for the Snatchabook!

“The Snatchabook” is published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, an imprint of Sourcebooks (2013). The book costs $16.99 in hardcover or you can find it in the children’s room at the Moffat County Library.

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