The Lying Carpet by David Lucas

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The Lying Carpet by David Lucas

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A black and white blaze of simple, yet profoundly charming, fable.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 80 Date: March 2012
Publisher: Andersen Press
ISBN: 9781849390170

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There is a room in a big old house where nothing moves but the insects. An empty chair sits to one side, a stone statue of a girl called, and representing, Faith, the other. In between is a tiger rug. What potential is in that for the setting of a charming book? What potential indeed...

This volume shows us the room on almost every page, a static, rigid view of what I've described, as a frame for everything else. And that is a big 'everything' when this is a cry for faith and hope, the cardinal virtue in finding power in potential, the possibilities of dreams and fantasy and in words. It shows the moral in a quite exquisite way, unfolding from the unlikely a supreme fable that just goes about its business without being too obvious, too twee, too patronising or too well-intended.

The space in that frame is more than room for both Lucas's text, shown as a blank verse in a calm sort of freeform style, and his own illustrations, which are anything but calm, vibrating on the page in a way that belies their staid, numbered captions.

Everything combines into a very praiseworthy book - the moral; the classical, timeless, 'why did nobody put it like that before' charm of the fable; the gently twisting narrative concerning the tiger and Faith; and the fresh yet traditional illustrations. It's such a pity then that economies of publishing, and I suspect someone's idea that adults can't handle coloured books, means this is in drab black and white. As a result, it looks cheap for a children's book, and almost dismissible for other audiences. The truth is, this is a volume with a vivid glow to it that has been diminished by its presentation when it should have shone brightly from countless bookshelves, tended to by all ages. If only someone had thought otherwise; if only someone had seen the potential.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

For similar books that stretch fully between those you can share with your child and adult-friendly material, try Shaun Tan, and books he worked on such as The Viewer. We've also enjoyed A Letter for Bear by David Lucas.

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Buy The Lying Carpet by David Lucas at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Lying Carpet by David Lucas at


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