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Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers' Favorite
An exciting hunt for gold in a faraway land forms the backdrop of the delightful children’s book, The Incredible Adventure of Hugh Hound, written by Geoff Payne and illustrated by Sarah Truman. Hugh Hound arrives unexpectedly at the home of artist Will Weasel, after a long voyage across the sea. Over tea and plates of honey cakes, he tells Will about his being commissioned by the queen to find a bounty of stolen gold. Hugh sets sail for the coast of Maezkartu, where he drops anchor and begins his search for the hoarded gold – only to encounter serpents, foul goblins and a host of other creatures, good and bad, who either help him or try to stop him in his quest…
Payne’s tale has all the elements young children will love; a compelling figure in Hugh Hound, an adventure to a far-off place, mean pirates, gold and even a magical sword called a shamshir that glows and freezes. Writing a fairly detailed story in rhyme most certainly has its challenges, yet the author manages to pull it off admirably. There’s a great story told in rhyming verse that tells of the Sultan Serpent’s palace, the Black Desert and the Dark Dragon’s hoarded gold and yet the structure is simple enough to allow young readers to identify the rhyming words.
Truman’s illustrations leap off the page, each one fluid and full of life as it complements a particular aspect of the story. Presented in crisp watercolors, they are detailed enough to encourage young readers to reach out and touch the various elements described in Payne’s story. Some illustrations, such as the menacing headshot of the dragon, may be a little frightening to some smaller children but are immediately tempered by those showing the hero of the story in restful slumber. A wonderful tale of gold and adventure, The Incredible Adventure of Hugh Hound is the perfect bedtime story or a great picture book for early readers.