A gluttonous pig and his good lady goose tell the story of what transpired the evening they were invited to dine at the mysterious Eatum Hall. This book was shortlisted for the 2005 Kate Greenaway Prize for illustration.
It's about a mysterious Dr Hunter who invites his new neighbours, a goose and a pig, for a gourmet weekend ending with a surprise culinary delight. But the surprise is meant to be that the goose and the pig are in fact the dinner. At first it all felt a bit sinister (to my adult mind!) But, on second & subsequent readings, this book has captured the imagination of both my children. Dr Hunter is hiding somewhere on almost every page, keeping watch over his guests, and my children take great delight in looking for him and seem to revel in the dastardly plot which is unfolding.
It seems like the sort of book which works at a number of levels. There are clues early on to signal what is in store, such as mis-spelling of "meet you" - instead it's written "meat". This appeals to adults and older children alike. The goose and the pig are totally oblivious to what is going on and right up to the end, you are not sure whether Dr Hunter is going to succeed. He does get his come-uppance when he ends up in his own pie (much to the delight of my children) and that only adds to the enjoyment: "the nasty man gets eaten" to quote my 3 year old.
It's a clever book which I am sure will appeal to children of a range of ages. We first came across it at our local library and have borrowed it on a number of occasions already. It has become a firm favourite.