Age 3-5 | Paperback | 36 pages | 250 x 250mm
Publication August 2018 | ISBN 9781912213382
Written by Malachy Doyle and illustrated by Hannah Doyle.
Little Skunk has become separated from his family at a railway station. He only speaks Skunk, and the other animals are wary of his difference until Bel, a young badger, defies prejudice to help him find his family.
A heart-warming and topical picture book that examines prejudice and tolerance in the first picture book pairing by bestselling children’s book author Malachy Doyle and his illustrator daughter Hannah Doyle.
Ootch Cootch was longlisted for the Cogan Diversity Picture Book Award 2019.
Malachy Doyle has over 100 children’s books published by leading English, Welsh and Irish publishers, from picture books to teenage novels. His work has been translated into 27 languages and he is a previous winner of the Tir na n-0g Award (Georgie), the Nestle Children’s Book Award (The Dancing Tiger), the English Association Award for Non-Fiction (Cow) and many other awards in the UK and USA. He is also the author of Graffeg Molly picture book series, including Molly and the Stormy Sea, Molly and the Whale and Molly and the Lighthouse, illustrated by Andrew Whitson.
Hannah Doyle has previously illustrated books for older readers, including Pete and the Five-a-Side Vampires published by Firefly Press in 2014, and six books in the Cyfres Clec series for Carreg Gwalch. Ootch Cootch is her first picture book.
‘Though a charming children’s story displaying Malachy Doyles quirky imagination the subtext is deadly serious inspired as it was by his compassion for immigants who are lost and frightened in a new civilisation they do not understand. The collaboration between Malachy and his daughter, illustrator Hannah, is outstanding as her watercolours capture the friendliness and warmth of the badger family and the puzzled stationmaster fox as well as the cynicism of ‘two very silly weasels’ making insulting gestures. Brilliant fun.’ Mary Arrigan, Irish Examiner
A delightful allegorical story for young children […] The illustrations, by the author Malachy Doyle’s daughter Hannah, are bright, engaging and reminiscent of Axel Scheffler. This book would be great for children from Foundation Stage up to Year Two, either as a class read or as part of a wider topic on languages or kindness.’ Hannah Wright, Just Imagine
‘Ootch Cootch is an adorable story of overcoming prejudices and being kind. When none of the other animals will help because ‘Skunks are smell’, a young badger steps up to the task. Malachy Doyle is a noted author and joins his daughter on this, their debut joint project. The titles are reminiscent of Axel Scheffler’s work, with chunky outlined figures and saturated colours. This story of a little skunk separated from his family is perfect for ages 2-4.’ Inis Reading Guide 2018-19
‘I can’t think of another book for young children which explains so well about bridging the gap between characters who speak different languages. The message of tolerance and inclusion is clear and even the intolerant weasels seemed to be drawn into feeling sympathy for Beeny by the end, judging by the illustration. Let’s hope they’ve learnt their lesson. The illustrations are bright and colourful and really captured the children’s interest while the heartwarming conclusion to the story was appreciated by all.’ 5 stars, Diversity Picture Book Awards via Toppsta