Little Blue by Gaye Chapman
|Little Blue by Gaye Chapman|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Ruth Price|
|Summary: Charmingly illustrated picture book with a simple, calming, bedtime story. Not a classic, but nevertheless a refreshing change from more garishly-illustrated efforts. Will appeal to Laura Ashley or Designers Guild - loving mums – it's so very tasteful.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 24||Date: July 2008|
|Publisher: Little Hare|
Little Blue is lost in the forest. Will finds her, and they search for her home, without success. When Will takes her to his grandmother's house, everything finally falls into place.
On first reading, I wasn't very impressed with this volume, neither the artwork, nor the story. However, I have read it a number of times for the sake of this review, and find that it has grown on me, and the simple story I found wanting, seems to gain from re-reading - surely the test of a good bedtime story. Children will get a lot of pleasure from the ending, and will revisit the book looking for clues about Little Blue's home. Anyone with a willow pattern plate at home will probably find their children looking for Little Blue.
However, I didn't feel it was a classic. While there is something of Arthur Rackham in the artist's style (most certainly in the palette of colours used), the drawings seem a little flat, in particular the figures, compared to the delicately lovely flowers. While there is a tiny bit of Goth in these illustrations, it's very watered down (probably appropriately for this younger readership). I did find both Will and Little Blue's eyes slightly scary on some of the plates, which I doubt was the artist's intent. I also felt that some pages were a little empty of illustration – and a lack of continuity in Will's outfit was also mildly annoying, and sure to be noticed by a child. My favourite illustrations are at the end of the book, where Will, his grandmother and Little Blue appear in close-up in a domestic setting. You can really see Chapman's talent as an artist in these pages.
The language used is similarly not memorable, but merely serves to explain the pictures. I wanted some magical words to match the beautiful forest and flowers. Like some of the drawings, the text was a little flat.
Ultimately, though, this book is not about the text. It's about these nostalgic, charming pictures, which tell a comforting story. It won't suit every child, but like Little Blue, in some homes it will slot in perfectly.
Thanks to the good publishers of Little Hare Books for providing this volume.
If you long for picture-books with a retro-feel like Little Blue, you may also enjoy the beautifully-illustrated The Magic Paintbrush by Julia Donaldson, which also features wonderful rhyming couplets to sing to your ears as well as your eyes.
You can read more book reviews or buy Little Blue by Gaye Chapman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Little Blue by Gaye Chapman at Amazon.com.
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