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Thursday, 14 October 2010

Review: The Beasties

Author: Jenny Nimmo
Illustrator: Gwen Millward
Release date: 4th October 2010 UK paperback
Genre: Picture Book
Target audience: 5+

Summary from Amazon:
On a starry, starry night Daisy hears a growl that makes her heart go pit-a-pat. It sounds like a story...Every night a new tale drifts up to Daisy - tales of robbers, shipwrecks and lost princesses. Until one night everything goes very quiet. Daisy very slowly looks under the bed to find...Three storytelling beasties! This is a lovingly crafted picture book about the power of imagination and the comfort of storytelling.

The Beasties is a sweet picture book for bed times. The story is about Daisy who hears noises at night and is frightened by them. But each night the strange noises bring not something to be afraid of but a story. There are three mini stories inside the story itself.

There is a lovely homely feel to this picture book which would be comforting to young listeners who are read this by their parents. If you have a child who is afraid of monsters under the bed or the strange clicking noises that houses make, then this is a perfect book to help ease their fears and encourage them to get a good night's sleep. It is also a great story to encourage children to become their own storytellers and use their imaginations.

The illustrations are pencil and watercolour and the bright patterns of the story world evoke magical places that will help children to have wonderfully vivid dreams. There is also an interesting contrast between the illustrations that are Daisy in real life - they are bolder and Daisy herself is very much at the forefront. The illustrations of the story worlds are much more delicate and in pastel shades. All are expertly crafted.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of areas of the The Beasties that I felt could be improved. The first is that the book is a little long and I think it lost a little rhythm because of this. I also think that some of the text is not well placed on the page or easily readable because of the font style and colour. The ease of being able to read a picture book aloud is so important.

Overall, an imaginative story which will help littlies have sweet dreams.

Thank you to Egmont Books for sending me the review copy.


Lauren said...

This sounds cute! I know next to nothing about picture books and books for younger readers, but I do have to buy Christmas presents for that age group this year, so I was wondering what age range a picture book like this would go up to?

brizmus said...

I love books that encourage children to be creative.
I also love your use of the word littlies. Cute! If I had a niece or nephew (or even just any English-speaking child) in my life, I would totally buy this for them.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Aw, this sounds cute! I definitely like the premise! It's a bit awkward that the font is a bit challenging in parts, as well as text placement, but in this case adults can read to the little ones and older kids can manage on their own, perhaps. I am a fan of roud leading of children's books myself, though. It's all about spending time with a child and having a good time together. I would definitely borrow this from the library for my nephews and niece. Thanks for sharing!

Rhiana said...

I've seen this book in Jenny's mailbox and thought it sounded cute so wish listed it for my little one. I think after this review it will be one she'll really like, and being at the older end of picture book readers the length may not be such an issue.Thanks for the review!

Becky said...

Lauren, I would say 5 - 7 really. Beyond 7, I think it depends on the child and whether they still enjoy reading picture books before bed. By 7, I think most children are on to first readers. But that is not to say that they would not want parents to read them bedtime stories. Most children love being read to, what ever the age. If you need any ideas for a specific age group, just let me know.

Brizmus, I agree any book which encourages creativity is great!

Irena, I agree. It is a shame about the text placement. It is such an easy issue to avoid. Just a change of font colour or style would have avoided the problem.

Rhiana, absolutely, length for older listeners is not such an issue. They have a greater attention span. :-)