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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Review: Eep!

Author: Joke van Leeuwen
Translator: Bill Nagelkerke
Release date: 1st July 2010
Genre: Magical Realism, MG
Target audience: 9+

Summary from Gecko Press:
One day Warren sees something strange lying under a bush. He doesn’t know whether it is a bird in the form of a girl, or a girl in the form of a bird.

He takes the creature home. His wife Tina wants to keep it and raise it as her own child. But it has wings…

Eep! is a most enigmatic tale. It is the story of child who is not quite a girl and not quite a bird. She is both and yet she is even more than that. Warren is out doing his usual bird-watching when he finds her lying underneath a bush. He takes her home and his wife is just as mesmerised by her as he is. So they keep her and raise her as their own.
Eep! is a really difficult book for me to summarise without giving away its special secrets. But I will say this: if you had wings, wouldn't flight be built into your very nature? If you could soar, wouldn't you leap into the sky and let your wings unfurl?

Beyond a summary, I think this is the type of book that you read and take from it whatever you bring. Does that make sense? It taps into your own interpretation of family, of love and of freedom. For me it had many hidden layers. I have to say I'm not sure if they were just my self-imposed interpretation rather than the heart of the story. For example, at the beginning of the story I felt the bird-girl's wings were a metaphor for disability. The parents hide them instead of embracing that which makes the bird-girl unique and special. I have no idea if that is what the author intended, but it is what I found through my reading. I think everyone's interpretation of the bird-girl's story will be thoroughly individual.

The illustrations in this story are quirky and endearing. They really convey the different emotions of the characters and the bizarre nature of our fears and our day dreams.

Eep! is a really short read at just 151 pages. It is sweet, funny and enlightening. The layers that I found when reading this book were subtle and poignant. I hope other people will read it and find there own journey just like the bird-girl. An enchanting and charismatic tale.

Thank you to Bounce Marketing for the review copy.


Caroline said...

I get your idea of "people will get from this book what they bring", I love this type of books where the story makes you think about your own life and values. The illustrations look super cute!
Great review Becky! x

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

This sounds like a most intriguing book. I like to read such quirky stories, since I love Neil Gaiman. I'm also glad the book offers something more than just a story to the reader. Great review!

I Want To Read That said...

This sounds really interesting! I'm looking forward to checking out the illustrations. Thanks for the review:)

Becky said...

Caroline, did you also notice that this is a translation? The original language was Dutch. I think you might like this one.

Irena, it definitely is deeper than the surface reading, or at least it was for me :-)

Sammee, perhaps I should have included some of the illustrations? I am parahoid about copyright LOL

Rhiana said...

I love the sound of this! I get what you you're saying, I love that we can all get our own interpretations from a book.

Lauren said...

I like your thoughts on the interpretation of this, even though I've never read it. I know a really smart six year old who might like it, actually. I'm kind of wondering if it'd be too grown up for her seventh birthday or not.

Becky said...

Rhiana, glad that what I was trying to explain made sense. I guess it is true of every book we read. We bring our own personal experiences to our interpretations.

Lauren, content wise I think it would be find for a six year old. There is nothing too dark or intimidating. It really just depends on the language and how "smart" she is. Could she say read the word "binoculars"? There is some difficult vocab. If you need some ideas of books for the 6/7 yr old age bracket. I could probably come up with some things.