The Gloomster by Ludwig Bechstein, Axel Sceffler and Julia Donaldson

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The Gloomster by Ludwig Bechstein, Axel Sceffler and Julia Donaldson

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Buy The Gloomster by Ludwig Bechstein, Axel Sceffler and Julia Donaldson at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The most enjoyable Mister Glum since Ian Lavender on the telly. A delightful look at misery from the children's illustration, and read-aloud poetry, maestros.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 48 Date: October 2011
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 978-0571274246

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We've all been there. Finding fault with everything around us, and perhaps picking on one particular irritant that gets us so rattled, tetchy and narked all we can do is invoke "Hell and damnation!" down on all creation - including, of course, ourselves. After all, our lot is so bad it won't make anything much worse.

The main character in this book certainly has an irritant like that - midges, pestering him in the autumn. Generally he doesn't actually bat problems away, just silently bears them. He has to put his hands to his ears at the sound of birdsong. If faced with some music, or a couple happily dancing, it's all he can do to stand there, hands in pockets, staring out at us as if to say 'I suppose you actually like this sort of thing...'

Each one of Axel Scheffler's illustrations has something silent like that to say to us. It seems from the blurb he may have illustrated the original Bechstein poem, then asked Julia Donaldson to translate it. It's hardly worth my while to say Scheffler was born German, for apart for a couple of Bavarian hats this is a tale for anyone, anywhere. Our man, in his naff clothes and with his cartoonish nose, cannot find anything to his appetite to eat or drink, and cannot get comfy in any season of the year. Is it any wonder he's such a gloomster?

But of course it's an enjoyable gloominess to witness. With these images and the snappy, brisk, bouncy words below we're in A A Milne and E H Shepard mode. Whatever our mood, we're brightened by the joyless character here - his attitude and his bad pullovers both. Faber have brought this to us as a brightly coloured, de luxe little gift book, but I don't think you have to be a curmudgeon in the dumps of life to appreciate and enjoy its receipt.

I must thank the publishers for our review copy.

If you haven't read The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson to a child yet, there must not be many around for you to borrow to read it to.

Buy The Gloomster by Ludwig Bechstein, Axel Sceffler and Julia Donaldson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Gloomster by Ludwig Bechstein, Axel Sceffler and Julia Donaldson at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Gloomster by Ludwig Bechstein, Axel Sceffler and Julia Donaldson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Gloomster by Ludwig Bechstein, Axel Sceffler and Julia Donaldson at Amazon.com.

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