Bored of books? With a rustling, a crackling and a flick of the page this debut picture book will help convince the most reluctant young reader that there is true magic in books.
Mabel doesn’t like books. She is always being given books but she has no intention of reading any of them. Never. Ever. The End. Instead she uses them for other things – piling them up so she can stand on them, using them as a doorstop, juggling with them and even using them as plates to eat off. Until, one day, Mabel’s books decide they’ve had enough. They start to zoom, zip, flip and flop around the room before pulling her into their stories. They don’t, however, let her stay for long. Instead, they give her a tiny taste of what she is missing before flicking her into another adventure. Will Mabel ever escape her page hopping and, if she does, will she still feel the same about the books that fill her bedroom?
I wanted to read this picture book from the moment I came across the title. It immediately intrigued me (at least partially because I know that debut author, Emma Perry, is one of the world’s biggest book fans). I suspect the title will also appeal to reluctant readers who may think this book will confirm their own dislike of books.
Of course, it won’t. This book is much more likely to hook these youngsters into reading and encourage them to more regularly abandon their whizzy gadgets in favour of a good old-fashioned story. This is partly due to the message that cleverly suggests that if you’ve never got lost in a good book, it might just be because you’ve never given books a chance. However, it’s more likely to be because this is a cracking good read.
The text is long for a modern picture book but every word is expertly chosen. I loved the mix of traditional storytelling (such as the opening with ‘Once upon a time…’) and modern language (for example, the short snappy sentences ‘Never. Ever. The End.’) I also enjoyed the careful use of repetition, particularly the line ‘There was a rustling, a crackling, a flick of the page…’).
Added to this, there are some truly inspired scenes. These includes Mabel using her books as a sledge ‘to slide bump, bump, bumpity bump down the stairs’ and a Harry Potter style scene of flying books zooming, zipping, flipping and flapping over her head. Then, there is the wonderful moment when she falls into the stories, not to mention when she lands in the worst place of all – a blank page!
Of course, these scenes are made all the more magical by Sharon Davey’s illustrations. As the central character, Mabel is simply perfect. The cartoon style works brilliantly and I’m still marvelling at the amount of expression Mabel’s face has – bored, frustrated, angry, surprised etc.
The pictures also serve to add pace, variety and an exciting turn page factor to the already strong text. The use of both a printed and handwritten font adds interest as does the changing size of the font. I especially liked the double page spread that turns the book on its side to maximise the ‘falling’ theme. I have, as you will have gathered from this review, fallen for this book!
If you enjoyed this and are looking for another fun adventure, why not try Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention by Pip Jones and Sara Ogilvie.