Daisy Hirst wowed me with her first two picture books, The Girl with the Parrot on Her Head and Alphonse, That is Not OK to DO!. Her work is an unforgettable blend of the absurd, everyday childhood emotions and superlative story telling. With Hilda and the Runaway Baby, Hirst delivers a bit more of the absurd and every day than emotions, but it's every bit as memorable and marvelous as her first two books.
Hilda is a pig who lives in a small tin house at the bottom of a hill who thinks to herself, "I think I ought to be happy. Life is peaceful. Nobody bothers me. I am always where I expect myself to be." In the village at the top of the hill is a baby who is never where people expected him to be. Hirst writes, "He usually turned up somewhere, but it worried his mom and dad." When the buggy the baby is in rolls down the hill toward Hilda, she springs to action.
Not only does Hilda slow the buggy and save the baby, they strike up a conversation and solve some problems together. Hilda delivers the Runaway Baby to his parents, watching the happy reunion from behind a potted plant.
The Runaway Baby wakes in the night, crying inconsolably, and Hilda hears and comes running. Smart parents that they are, they welcome Hilda into their home, giving her a seat at the table. Hirst writes, "Hilda never expected to end up here, but she and the Runaway Baby soon found they had plenty to talk about." And, happily, Hilda found herself just where the baby expected her to be. A sweet, happy ending to a sort of silly story!
Daisy Hirst's Books:
Source: Review Copy