Told in the lyrical voice of children’s author Peta Lemon, The Dreaded Groak: Overcoming prejudice and discrimination follows a young rat named Hazel as he learns to make his way into the world. Hazel’s first thought is to stay with his brother who shuns him. After a day out in the world where Hazel meets some not so nice characters, among them a bully named Ness who steals his backpack, Hazel finds himself in need of shelter. Sadly, a rainstorm wipes out his efforts at home-building. But in his search for a warm place to stay, Hazel encounters the Dreaded Groak – an ogre about whom everyone has warned him. Finding themselves in the same situation, Hazel and the Groak take time to learn about one another and in doing so become friends. And not just any kind of friends, but lifelong best friends.
The story is told in rhyming verses and is quite easy for a child to follow. The lesson taught here is that while we may look different, it is deep down inside that we are alike: lost little souls looking for someone to love us. And with a bit of compassion and understanding we may find our friends in the strangest of places.
The Dreaded Groak is beautifully illustrated by Maria Dasic Todoric. This book is the fourth in a series that includes The Fed-Up Cow, Timmy on the Toilet, and The Bins of Cotteridge Downs. Perfect for your 3-5 year olds or early readers 6+ years of age.
My in-house critic, my 6-year-old neighbor, loved the story and so do I. I highly recommend this, and all of Peta Lemon’s books, for your child or grandchild. Available in print at a reasonable price, this book would make a lovely holiday or birthday gift for the lucky youngster.
Rating: 5 stars