Saturday, March 12, 2011

(Picture Book Saturday) The Beasties by Jenny Nimmo and Gwen Millward

On a starry, starry night, as she lies awake in her big new bed, in her big new room, Daisy hears a mysterious sound.

Her heart goes pit-a-pat.  What could it be?

I've been meaning to start doing Picture Book Saturday, a new feature on MFB for some time now, and whilst tidying my shelves, I stumbled across a raft of picture books I've not read or reviewed.  So I took that as a sign to start.

My first picture book I'm reviewing is one by one of my favourite authors for younger folk - Jenny Nimmo.  I can say, with my hand on my heart, her Charlie Bone books made me want to get published.  Her ease of storytelling blew me away and although I have not read her for the longest time, I'm so glad I've found her in this story of The Beasties.

Daisy is a little girl who is struggling to fall asleep.  She's hearing all these strange noises and she keeps wondering what they are.  Enter The Beasties, Weevil, Floot and Ferdinand.  They creep softly softly into her room and hide under her bed, where they spread their treasures wide.  Then she heard a growly voice and it was the fiersome Ferdinand who spoke, telling a story of a king and treasures and robbers and how Ferdinand save the faraway king's treasure.

Daisy is lulled to sleep by the tale but the next night she once again settled in bed, too awake and too aware of the groans and noises around her.   This time it's Weevil's turn to tell his story about a magical bird, shipwrecks and unexpected kindnesses.

On the third night, Daisy hears a peculiar little whistling noise and it's Floot's turn to tell his story of hide and seek, princesses, wolves and unexpected friendship.

The fourth night, Daisy lies back in bed, wondering, wondering.  Then she hears a gravelly voice and bravely she looks beneath her bed, only to discover The Beasties themselves!

Obviously I won't tell you how this beautiful whimsical story ends, but let's just say that Daisy becomes a brave new storyteller in her own right.

Gwen Millward's artwork is wonderfully evocative and endearing in this gorgeous picture book.  Her illustrations of The Beasties made me want them to come and visit me and tell me stories.  They are endearing and not what we expect at all. And I loved how our preconceived ideas of size and importance are tilted on the side.

It's a great book encouraging creativity and imagination and above all, storytelling.  Just looking through it has made me feel all billowy and warm inside.  And that's what good books do.

The Beasties by Jenny and Gwen is out now from Egmont.


Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

You gotten a lot out of a picture book. That's wonderful.

Asamum said...

That book sounds lovely. I really like your new feature, thank you. You also reminded me to put the Charlie Bone books on the list for the library :D

March 17th said...

Love this, thank you - i'm on the hunt for a series of new picture books for my three year old - off to buy this one ! x