As we all know, second-hand bookshops are dangerous places. Most fall into two categories: 1) evil-smelling dungeons guarded by Bernard Black where the books don’t even have any writing on the spines 2) cosy treasure-nests that you cannot bear to leave without spending half your weekly salary on a children’s book you can recite by heart anyway but that was lost forever when your parents moved house/got flooded/burned it as heresy UNTIL NOW.

I found myself in one of the latter emporia at the weekend. Having already picked up a bargain Thomas Hardy compendium for a couple of quid my eyes wandered over to the children’s section, which contained a large number of ancient Little Grey Rabbit books. I was a big fan of these tales as a nipper, reading and re-reading all about Squirrel going skating on the pond, Rat mending his wicked ways and Hare generally being hungry and boisterous (the ‘Xander’, if you will). However the shelf contained one title I’d never heard of before – Hare Joins The Home Guard. Published in 1941, the woodland animals are informed by their milkman (a Hedgehog) that war is coming! The Weasels are on the march, and they are coming to *EAT* Grey Rabbit and her chums. If you are familiar with the LGR books you will understand that the worst crisis the friends previously have had to face was a shortage of raspberry jam.

[SPOILERS!] So of course the animals team up to battle the Bosch unsuspecting mustelids, who believe the smaller creatures will give in without a fight. Squirrel starts knitting socks for the brave soliders, Grey Rabbit tends to the wounded with some cod liver oil and Hare puts a saucepan on his head and throws eggs at the Weasels, who promptly run away vowing never to return. All very exciting! [END OF SPOILERS!]

It was a tenner though so I didn’t get it.