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.