Mr Huff by Anna Walker
Beloved Melbourne illustrator Anna Walker melted our hearts with Peggy, the tale of a resourceful hen who has an adventure in the city but is ultimately relieved to return to the peace and quiet of her home. Like Walker’s illustrations, the story was sensitive and gently evocative. In her latest, Mr Huff, all of that sensitivity is amplified with a beautiful story about a little boy and his huffy-mood shadow.
When Bill wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, the tone is set for the rest of his day. As he perceives that more and more things fail to go his way, he begins to sense that there is a growing something trailing his every move. That something is Mr Huff. At first Bill tries to ignore Mr Huff, but the more he does, the more Mr Huff expands.
By now, Mr Huff has acquired a whole personality of his own. His understated facial expressions are a wonder to behold. Walker’s style is never to exaggerate the features of her characters, so how she achieves the level of emotion that she does is quite simply magical. I also loved her background details - faces in the windows, a sweet French bulldog, items in Bill’s bedroom, and other neighbourhood children.
This picture book is a stunning combination of poignant and cute. It will touch your heart, and make you smile. For ages 3 and up, but also a great tool for primary school children in helping them to articulate ‘that huffy feeling’.
Emily Gale is the Online Children’s Specialist, and a Children’s & YA author the rest of the time.