Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Review - Grobblechops

by Elizabeth Laird
illustrated by Jenny Lucander
Date: 2019
Publisher: Tiny Owl
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Amir’s worried about the monster under the bed! What if it has huge teeth and growls like a lion? What if it tries to eat him up? And what if the monster has a mum and dad too? But Dad reassures Amir that if the monster family comes to play, then Amir might just make a friend instead.

A timeless tale of monsters under the bed, Grobblechops is based on a story by the thirteenth-century poet, philosopher and Sufi mystic Rumi.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I knew Rumi wrote deeply philosophical poems about love. I did not know he also wrote stories about monsters under the bed. (I think my biggest complaint about this charming little book is that there's little information about the original story, other than a brief mention of a work called Masnavi.)

It's time for bed, but Amir is afraid. What if a monster shows up? As his father continually tries to reassure him, Amir comes up with more what-ifs based on his father's responses. Subtly, as the exchange goes on, we can see the father gently steering things in a more friendly, reassuring direction, until at last Amir is ready to go to sleep, protected by the imaginative narrative that he and his father have built together.

The pictures are hectic and colourful, but I kind of like them. They illustrate the events in the book perfectly, and the humans and monsters alike come alive on the pages. Some illustrations had me smiling (like when Amir's mom heroically appears wielding a large umbrella), and others are just plain cute. (Watch Amir's teddy as the story progresses.)

I wasn't sure what to expect from this one--after all, it's billed as a story about monsters under the bed from a tale by a Sufi mystic--but I was pleasantly surprised. Amir's dad's handling of the situation is impressive, and it's nice to see the father take on the role of reassuring and comforting the child when they're experiencing a fear like this.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tiny Owl for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall: 4.33 out of 5

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