Kevin by Rob Biddulph

kevin-by-rob-biddulph

The fifth fantasy adventure from author / illustrator Rob Biddulph, this book has everything a good picture book needs – a clever story, wonderful pictures and an important message.

Sidney Gibbons is always in trouble and, to make matters worse, he insists on blaming the mess he makes on his invisible friend – Kevin. This, however, changes when Sidney actually meets Kevin and discovers what it is like to be on the receiving end of bad behaviour. In a magical world of make-believe, Sidney finally comes to realise that he’s been selfish and resolves to put things right for both his invisible chum and his very own mum.

The fifth fantasy adventure from author / illustrator Rob Biddulph, this book has everything a good picture book needs – a clever story, wonderful pictures and an important message.

Kevin is a wonderful, well-rounded and totally endearing character. (I suspect he was, at some point at least, very real to Rob Biddulph). Children who have their own invisible friend will easily relate and those who don’t will wish they had a super cute vanilla-coloured monster with pink spots and a single tooth.

Sidney too is extremely believable and his actions are clearly based on the behaviour that drives parents, carers and teachers to distraction – from breaking, defacing and smashing things to failing to remember to put the pen lids back on. Adults will undoubtedly welcome the book’s message not to do any of these things alongside the reassurance in the book that it’s okay to have a make-believe friend.

The pictures are classic Rob Biddulph – outwardly simple but filled with detail that will keep young and old eyes absorbed for hours. There is a particularly clever transition from greys (in the real world) to vibrant colours (in the imaginary world) and the characters in Kevin’s world are simply inspired. I challenge anyone not to fall in love with the hairy, slimy, leggy or frilly beasties in Kevin’s world.

Written in rhyme, there is a lot of text for a picture book. This may put off some younger readers but it will delight those with above-average reading ability who still enjoy pictures books. The book is also packed with adult appeal so younger children can enjoy having the story read to them. While the font size is small for a fully illustrated story, it is laid out well alongside the pictures.

There is only one negative about this book and that relates to the production. I’m really not a fan of flimsy paper dust covers for books for this age range. It might be the current trend when publishing hardback books but paper covers are a nightmare for teachers, librarians and parents.

If you enjoyed this, you should check out Rod Biddulph’s other wonderful picture books. I loved Odd Dog Out while Grrrrr! was one of my top ten picks in 2015.

ISBN: 978-0008207410
Date: August 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Pages: 32
Author: Rob Biddulph
Madge's 5 / 5 Star Book rating
Review first published on The Bookbag

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