Daily Archives: October 27, 2007

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears

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Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears is classic Emily Gravett. It might seem a bit much to call it “classic Emily Gravett” as she’s only been on the scene for a few years – but if any hot new author/illustrator is up for it, it’s Gravett. Gravett’s books are always based in clever and deceptively simple concepts that she polishes to complete brilliance. (Can you tell I love one this yet?) Her two more recent books – Orange, Pear, Apple Bear and Monkey and Me are pitched at quite a young age range (5 and younger). Her first title Wolves (insert gushing here…) and this new book, will likely be best appreciated by slightly older readers.

Basic premise: Little Mouse is afraid of many, many things – some rational fears, some not so much. In his book, he lists his major fears and offers illustrations and other pieces of evidence to explain his fears to the reader. What is enviably wonderful about Gravett’s books is the detail. You can pore over every page and discover many small (and usually funny) delights that somehow manage to take you out of the book to a greater appreciation of its artistry, and deeper into the world of the book at the same time. I’m not going to spoil this for you by listing all of the adorable and brilliant details that Gravett has inserted in this work since it’s a treat to discover them as you read.

Ok… just one spoiler! On the front end page, Gravett explains to her readers:

“(this book) has been put together by an expert in worrying, who draws on a lifetime’s experience of managing her fears through the medium of doodle. You too can overcome your fears through the use of art! Each page in this book provides a large blank space for you to record and face your fear using a combination of drawing, writing, collage.”

So Ms. Gravett… you are challenging us to a drawing duel? Scary. (No, I mean it). I wouldn’t want to go up against Emily with a paltry pencil as my only weapon, however pointy it might be. As a grown up lover of picture books, there is a not so small part of me that cries out, “No! Don’t draw on this book! Don’t wreck it with your lame doodles! It is perfection! It shall not be defaced!” But kids will go gaga over this. And, Gravett’s illustrations have a crazy, messy freedom to them, so that a child’s crazy, messy artwork will blend in wonderfully. In fact, I almost want to hand this book over to a couple of young artists in my class so that they can personalize it.

When you see this book, you will want it. I think it could cure the worst ever case of bibliophobia.

Visit Emily’s website at www.emilygravett.com to see more stuff you’ll love.

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears is published by Macmillan.