'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Review: The Hero of Little Street

Escaping from a gang of bullies, our favourite Boy runs into a grand old art gallery – the perfect hiding place. Wandering about the rooms, fascinated by the wonderful paintings, he notices a mischievous-looking dog in one of the paintings. Before he knows it, the Boy has climbed into the painting, a portrait by Vermeer, and his adventure in Little Street, Delft in 17th Century Holland begins.

Another wordless picture book masterpiece by talented Australian illustrator Gregory Rogers, The Hero of Little Street entices readers to consider what you might find if you could step inside a painting. The Boy discovers that the streets of Delft hold dangers for his furry new friend and that life in Holland in the 1600s isn’t quite as serene as it seems in the portraits hanging in the gallery.

Gregory Rogers explains: ‘I often wonder about the real lives of people in paintings. The older the painting, the more curious the people. I have long admired the paintings of Verneer and Van Eyck and this book gave me the perfect opportunity to step inside and see for myself.  Together the Boy and I discovered a mysterious world just beyond the gilded frame – a world of fun, friendship and fiendish excitement.’

The Hero of Little Street offers readers the opportunity to tell the Boy’s story, sharing their version of his adventure and choosing which details to include. As always, the pictures are rife with humour and character. I love the flexibility of the wordless picture book format. Over the years, we have enjoyed dozens of different stories inspired by this one book as the children focused on different characters or noticed small details that had been overlooked in previous readings.

Our hero, the Boy, will be familiar to readers from the first two books in the Boy Bear series, The Boy, the Bear, the Baron and the Bard and Midsummer Knight. If you look carefully, you might find other familiar faces from the first two books in the series appearing in this latest Boy Bear story as well.

Title: The Hero of Little Street
Author/Illustrator: Gregory Rogers
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $29.99 RRP
Publication Date: May 2009
Format: Hard cover with dust jacket
ISBN:  9781741145243
For ages: 7+
Type: Picture Book