The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold and Emily Gravett

2 Comments

images

When I see that Emily Gravett has illustrated a new book, my immediate reaction is a kind of involuntary and urgently clumsy plunge for the auld wallet. I would paper my walls with her illustrations if I could afford to, but even I can see that a twenty-five-year-old who still lives at home doing this is pushing the I’m-an-adult-who-prefers-to-read-kids-books-and-it’s-awesome a little too far. So I’ve held off until I have some actual children. This may be my only motivation for having actual children.

So not to beat around the bush any further, it’s awesome. The strong childlike voice of the narrator (not first person) is gentle and easy but lively. I’ve never read anything by this author before, but he knows how to nail a childlike voice without sounding remotely childish. It would suit a confident eight year old and could be read to much younger children. That said, it is CRREEEPY, in the style of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, though not quite as messed-up. This means that it will appeal to parents who don’t want to traumatise their children THAT MUCH while still enjoying a couple in involuntary shudders themselves.

The story is about imaginary friends, and is told from the point of view of one called Rudger, who is naturally devoted to the little girl who created him. Their ideal childhood is disrupted by the appearance of a man and an (think if every long-haired creepy little dead brat you’ve ever seen in a horror movie) imaginary girl who can see him and take a disquieting interest in the pair. The cutsy and whimsical world of the imaginaries is juxtaposed alongside the real world and an altogether much darker meeting of the two. The book opens with a shock and there are sad bits to boot. Sorry, no spoilers. Overall, this was a fantastic book, with illustrations working in perfect creepy and adorable harmony with the text. The simplicity of the storytelling belies the complexity of the story itself. For the brief time I spent reading it (it is very short) my brain was very happy.

Smuggler’s Kiss by Marie-Louise Jensen

1 Comment

Image
This is Marie-Louise Jensen’s sixth novel for children. I have read all but one of her previous books and she never disappoints. If you enjoy strong heroines, historical settings and thrilling adventure then you will love her novels. Smuggler’s Kiss delves right into the action with heroine Isabelle about to throw herself into the sea, we don’t learn why until she reveals her story later on. However we do discover that Isabelle is rather a spoiled brat, rescued from the sea by smugglers they contemplate throwing her overboard but despite her haughty attitude she might prove useful after all. Forced to help with smuggling lace from France Isabelle finds admiration for the risk the smugglers take and the dangers they face and more than a passing interest in one smuggler in particular. Will Isabelle take the chance to escape, will she be discovered or will she find that the dangers are worth the risk for the chance of a smuggler’s kiss. If you are a fan of Historical romance then you won’t be able to put this book down. Perfect for fans of Mary Hooper, Eva Ibbotson, Victoria Lamb and Eve Edwards. Suitable for readers 10 and upwards.