The Spectacular City by Teresa Heapy and David Litchfield

The Spectacular City by Teresa Heapy and David Litchfield

A tale of true friendship. David Litchfield’s outstanding, atmospheric illustrations make this book truly spectacular.

Mouse and Bear live in a little, dark house in the big, black Woods. Mouse, however, wants to live in the City with its spectacular lights that sparkle, glitter and shine. Bear agrees to join him but he’s more aware that, behind the shimmering lights, the city might be dangerous. Before they leave Bear reminds Mouse that they’ll always have each other and to call if they lose each other. Mouse doesn’t think this will be necessary, especially when they make a wonderful new friend to show them the city lights. But their new friend turns out to have a secret plan of her own.

A follow-up to The Marvellous Moon Map, this is the second emotional tale of the friendship between Mouse and Bear from Teresa Heapy and David Litchfield.

The story is well told, with strong characterisation of the impulsive Mouse and more reflective Bear. I enjoyed following them around the City, especially once they meet their new tour guide – a rather glamorous looking cat. Adult readers might guess what’s going to happen in the climax but I suspect Cat’s true intentions will remain as much a mystery to young readers as they do to Mouse, at least until it’s almost too late. Neither adults or children will, however, guess how Bear appears to save his friend. It might be slightly implausible but it is a lovely and unexpected solution. (Sorry, you’ll have to read the book to find out exactly what happens but there is a hint in the second double page spread).

While the story is good, it is David Litchfield’s outstanding illustrations that make this book really stand out. The variety in shape, size and layout creates good pace while the pictures themselves are as delightful as always. The characters are wonderfully expressive and there’s some lovely detail that adds depth to the story. My favourite is the ‘WANTED’ poster of Cat on the wall behind Bear in the scene when he hears Mouse’s distress call.

The colour scheme also deserves a special mention. As with David Litchfield’s recent book, Space Tortoise, most of the action takes place at night but instead of being dark and dull we, again, have a series of pictures that are deeply atmospheric. Indeed, the glow and glitter of the city lights are almost magical and it’s easy to understand why Mouse is entranced.

The use of subdued colours for some of the text is also inspired. The text remains totally legible at all times but the subtle colours allow the city lights to sparkle in comparison. Lovely!

If you enjoyed this, you might want to read about Mouse and Bear’s other adventure in The Marvellous Moon Map by Teresa Heapy and David Litchfield. Alternatively, why not try Space Tortoise by Ross Montgomery and David Litchfield.

ISBN: 978-1782956761
Date: August 2018
Publisher: Red Fox
Pages: 32
Websites: Teresa Heapy and David Litchfield


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