With a name like that, I suppose it’s no surprise that the protagonist in Churchill’s Tale of Tails is a rather portly pig who enjoys genteel activities like painting, playing classical music, reading and having tea with his friends. (In fact, I suspect that the character design was largely inspired by his namesake, that most famous stiff-upper-lipper in history, who was, ahem, of a similar body type and who had on occasion also worn a monocle — but I digress.)
When Churchill loses his curly tail, which happens to be his most prized personal attribute, his friends manage to find a temporary replacement to cheer him up. Of course, little do they know that this would also throw Churchill’s obsession with his tail in a whole new direction.
The idea of animals having detachable and interchangeable tails is frankly zany, but also delightfully imaginative — and, best of all, results in some of the most adorable and ridiculously funny anthropomorphised animal characters I’ve ever seen (the zebra, peacock, tiger and bird spreads are particularly inspired) with sweet little unexpected details sprinkled throughout to reward observant eyes.
Sometimes it’s really nice, fun even, to read a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously or try too hard to convey any life lessons — although, I’m pretty sure there is something about friendship and individuality in there. But you see, all that doesn’t really matter when your 3yo points out the details in the illustrations and giggles at them, and asks for it to be read multiple times over the past week because “It’s so funny!” By any standard I’d say this book is a winner.