Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Review - Lucy Maud: My First L. M. Montgomery

Lucy Maud: My First L. M. Montgomery (My First Little People, BIG DREAMS)
by Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara
illustrated by Anuska Allepuz
Date: 2019
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book non-fiction
Pages: 24
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

This board book version of L. M. Montgomery – one of the titles in the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series – introduces the youngest dreamers to the creator of Anne of Green Gables.

As a young girl, Lucy Maud Montgomery found comfort in reading, writing and her imagination. When she grew up, she wrote about the childhood she wished she had, creating one of the best-loved characters of all time: Anne of Green Gables. Babies and toddlers will love to snuggle as you read to them the engaging story of this wonderful writer, and will also enjoy exploring the stylish and quirky illustrations of this sturdy board book on their own.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I keep wanting to like these books, but most of them are coming up short. I'm really not impressed by these shortened board-book editions, either. The text is so simplified as to be almost condescending, and the narrative seems really sparse.

The illustrations in this series are always hit-and-miss for me, and this book offers another miss. The proportions on the characters are odd. The facial expressions are unappealing. And I can't even tell what time period I'm looking at. In fact, if you compare the illustrations with a timeline of events in Montgomery's life, you'd be forgiven for thinking she was a time-traveller! For example, the book states that Maud went back to care for her ailing grandfather, before which she worked at a newspaper. But, apparently, she went back to live with her widowed grandmother in 1898. So why does her skirt in the newspaper scene look like it's from the 1940s?

I kind of wish I'd read the non-condensed version of this book. At least with those, there's a timeline to help fill in the missing bits. Even as a board book, this seems weak. We're told about Anne, but never shown anything about her (except in one dream scene, but it's just a picture of Maud from another page in the book with the hair colour changed).

Unfortunately, this isn't great. I was hoping for a more engaging look at one of Canada's literary legends.

Thank you to NetGalley and Frances Lincoln Children's Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 1/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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