Badger the Mystical Mutt (Series), Lyn McNicholl and Laura Jackson

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A series of illustrated children’s stories for 5 – 8 year olds, addressing issues such as bullying, disability and prejudice. “It was a quarter past midsummer. In a garden, next to a lane, Badger the Mystical Mutt had gathered all the ingredients for his fabulous new spell…Meanwhile, in the lane at the bottom of the garden, all was not well. Hamish was running for his life. ‘ Pet Idol’ is in town, and Hamish, a floppy-eared spaniel, is the favourite to win. But as the spotlight falls on the lane, Top Dog and his gang of strays are hunted by the Dog Catcher, and blame Hamish for their troubles. With his haphazard magic, an appetite for toast and a strange travelling machine, can Badger the Mystical Mutt save Hamish from Top Dog and his gang? And can Hamish still win ‘Pet Idol’?

Publisher: Lunicorn Press

Reviewer:  Briony Stebbings

Badger the Mystical Mutt (Series) by McNicol & Jackson

I have had the pleasure of reading all 6 of the Badger the Mystical Mutt books from the series, all I can say is I want there to be more! I shan’t be reviewing each individual book but the series as a whole, touching on each book.

Titles in the series are;

  1. Badger the Mystical Mutt
  2. Badger the Mystical Mutt and the Barking Boogie
  3. Badger the Mystical Mutt and the Crumpled Capers
  4. Badger the Mystical Mutt and the Daydream Drivers
  5. Badger the Mystical Mutt and the Enchanting Exchange
  6. Badger the Mystical Mutt and the Flying Fez

Badger is a lovely little Black & White dog that spends a lot of time dreaming of and consuming toast, he also happens to have magical powers, with the ability to travel to strange lands and a really, really useful red and white polka dot neckerchief.  He’s friendly, loyal and wise. All the qualities you would want from both a dog and a friend. There are lots of other wonderful characters as well, from the gang who hang out on the lane, to his friend Hamish;  every dog has a well thought out back story and the interaction between them all leads to some really great adventures.

When we meet them in the first book ‘Pet Idol’ has come to town and Hamish has been entered by his big people, but this has created some jealousy amongst the others dogs who are taking it out on Hamish, but with Badger’s help things take some unexpected turns.

There is a dance contest to be had in the Barking Boogie, but a nasty smell about the lane is causing all kinds of problems, really funny and quite sweet this was my favourite of the series.

We move into winter for the Crumpled Capers, travel has become a bit of an issue, as it does over the winter months but this book focuses quite strongly on the relationship between the dogs and the cats, can two such different groups really get along?

The Daydream Drivers tries to help with the bad dreams being suffered by the new gang leader Lennie it also takes a really interesting spin on land development and politics that you wouldn’t expect from a book aimed at the young.

The Circus is in town for the Enchanting Exchange and the main even in the big top is a real Minotaur, which made me dig out some of my Greek myths and legends for future reading, I always like when a book can prompt you into either learning something new or revisiting book syou hadn’t thought about in years. Badger and his magic are as ever at hand to try and help when the minotaur decides he wants to return home to his labyrinth.

The Dog Catcher takes a more prominent role in the Flying Fez, he’s after Pickle, the only stray left on the lane. Badger is having his own problems and his neckerchief (aptly named ‘Chief) has gone missing and this is really messing with his magic, when in steps Otto the fez. It’s hard to say whether he helps or just causes more trouble but it makes for a brilliant and very enjoyable read.

These books are aimed at 5 to 9 year olds but please don’t be constrained by these ages, my husband and I have been reading them and I seriously can’t tell you who has been enjoying them the most.  They are whimsical in nature, fun and exting – they flow beautifully and are an easy read, whilst remaining smart and intelligent.  As you may have not.  I love the fact that they also have a strong moral compass, but that it is interwoven into the story in such a way that you barely notice it which makes it even more effective.

When I was young I had several books that I loved and still remain close to my heart.  Paddington is one and I can’t wait to start reading the Narnia books with my little boy.  I can see the same qualities from the Badger series and cannot recommend these books highly enough.  A real 5 out of 5 series.

 

 

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