It’s the first rule of book reviewing that when you are suffocating under a pile of books for review and finding less and less time to get to the review pile, the first thing you should do is go to the library and get more books.
It just makes sense really.
So, given that I am woefully behind in my review schedule and have no less than seven books to read and review by the end of next week, I decided it was only fitting to pop to the library and grab two more to bring to your attention. I’m glad I did actually, despite the stirrings of guilt, because I thoroughly enjoyed both of my choices.
First I picked Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol, which I had had my eye on since it was first released and I found it featured an old lady protagonist, knitting and telling people to bugger off – incidentally, three of my favourite things.
Given that Brosgol is the author/illustrator of multi-award winning graphic novel Anya’s Ghost, I suspected that the illustrations here were going to be great. They were. Brosgol’s style features clean lines, blocks of colour and some fantastic facial expressions. Most of all, I just loved this book because it was so funny. The old woman is the matriarch of a home with an excessive amount of small children and so it’s unsurprising that she doesn’t get much alone time in which to knit. After tramping out of the village with naught but a shouted “Leave me alone!”, the old lady traipses off through a variety of unlikely environments until she can get some peace and quiet in which to work on her knitting.
My favourite part of the story is when the woman passes through a wormhole to avoid her latest pursuers. Honestly, the line “She swept the void until it was a nice matte black” has got to be one of the best in children’s literature.
This one is going to become a keeper for us. I am left with no option but to buy my own copy I liked this story so much.
Despite being in large picture book format, this is undoubtedly a graphic novel aimed at middle grade readers and older. The story revolves around Sandy, a young girl who loves to draw and has trouble focusing in class …or anywhere for that matter…due to the intense concentration she exerts while drawing. When Sandy meets Morfi, a new girl, their friendship at first seems to be buoying for Sandy, but as time progresses and Morfi appears in Sandy’s dreams, things aren’t quite as peachy for the pair as they appear. The author has slipped in a neat little solution to the problem that will require a bit of reasoning out on the part of younger readers, but is satisfyingly clever and opens the door for Sandy to throw off the shackles that are holding her back.
The colours in Sandy’s drawings are so eye-catching and lush that they’d look just as good stuck in a frame on your wall. The scenes set in Sandy’s dreamscapes are just creepy enough to indicate danger, yet are also filled with tiny details that call out to be pored over. I enjoyed this story a lot and I think its larger format will make it a great choice for primary (and secondary!) school libraries.
Now, back to the review pile.
Until next time,