The Great Highland Games Chase Review

Review: The Great Highland Games Chase

This post contains gifted items. All views are our own.

It’s no secret that we are big book lovers, and what we love even more than a good book, is a good book set in Scotland. So we delighted to be asked to review The Great Highland Games Chase, the picture book debut for both author Kate Abernethy and illustrator Laura Darling.

The Great Highland Games Chase Review

As you might be able to guess from the title, the book is set during a Highland Games, a popular type of event that takes place across Scotland, including beyond the Highland themselves. They feature traditional Highland sports such as the caber toss, tug o’ war or hammer throw, as well as Highland dancing, music, food stalls, livestock shows, and best-dressed or best-in-show pet competitions. If you’ve never been to a Highland Games before, then keep this in mind as you read the book.

The Great Highland Games Chase Book

The story starts when a cheeky wee Scottie dog escapes from his owner and steals a lady’s hat. She chases after the dog as he runs off, and soon chaos ensues as the pup gets tangled up with bag pipers, cable tossers and Highland dancers, upsets the cake stall, causes mayhem among sheep and Highland coos, and tries to join in with a tug o’war.

One hat-loving lady,
Two pipers with puff,
three grandads in pinnies,
They’ve all had enough!

One each page someone else joins the chase of the “WEE RASCAL”, as you count along from 1 up to 10, all told in a beautifully flowing rhyme. In each new scene, the previous chasers also get repeated, so by the time you get to 10 you almost feel a little breathless reading it all out in one go, which I think is a brilliant writing technique as it mirrors the breathlessness of the chase. The repetition is also a great way to reinforce the counting for children, and you’ll have your little readers shouting out “ye WEE RASCAL” along with the story in no time.

The Great Highland Games Chase caber tossers

Another thing we really liked about the story, is that each encounter includes some onomatopoeic words – such as “SPLODGE! SPLAT! SQUELCH!” or “BAAAAA! SPLATTER! THUD!” – which not only break up the rhyming a little and stop it becoming too repetitive, but is also something else little readers will enjoy shouting out. Mine certainly did.

The Great Highland Games Chase front cover

Overall, we really enjoyed this book, between the rhyming story, the counting fun, and the lovely illustrations with lots of details to study. Whether or not you’ve been to a Highland Games before, you’ll find it really captures that Scottish flair, and it was impossible to chose a favourite scene. There’s also a fun little twist at the end of the story, but we won’t spoil it for you – you’ll have to read the book!

The Great Highland Games Chase coos

The book is aimed at age 3 – 6, but the text is a decent enough length that it can be enjoyed by older readers too. My recently turned 9 year old certainly loved it, as did I.

The Great Highland Games Chase is available from Amazon [affiliate link] and all good independent booksellers.

Disclosure: We were gifted a copy of The Great Highland Games Chase by the publisher Floris Books, in return for an honest review. All views are our own. If you purchase anything via the Amazon affiliate link, I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, which helps to keep this blog running.

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