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

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Review: Noah Dreary

Aaron Blabey's latest picture book - Noah Dreary - is as every bit 'Blabey' as you would expect. It's actually a nice feeling to anxiously await new titles from a particular author. Like the next installment of favourite a sitcom, it's so rewarding when it finally does show.

Packed with that dark Blabey kookiness and startling illustration, Noah Dreary certainly makes a good showing, making it yet another stand-out book. I mean, wouldn't you stand out if your head fell off?

Our dear Noah loved to complain. One day, he complained so much, his head fell off and onto the floor - as heads are wont to do under such circumstances.

You see, Noah had been on a particular roll that day ('scuse the pun) - complaining about this, about that, about this, that, this, that, that, this and the other (much of which involved his baby sister). So, off popped his head.

Naturally, his mother flew into a tailspin and dashed him off to hospital, but they could do little for him. Noah would just have to stuff his head in his backpack and go home.

So, did Noah's head-severing change things? Well, maybe not at first. He still complained. He complained to anyone who listened, actually. I mean, wouldn't you  if your head fell off?

But over time, things began to change for Noah Dreary. Perhaps, due to the brand new perspectives he was achieving with a severed head, he began to look at the world a little differently.

And the world and its meaning couldn't help but shift for that hapless little soul.

Blabey has injected subtle meaning into Noah Dreary, through the use of humour and a clever plot that doesn't lambast the reader with sunshine and lollipops, but rather sneaks up on them with a featherlike humanitarian touch.

The book's striking yet rather graphic imagery sometimes nudges 'unsettling' or at the very least - intriguing. While I'm quite sure none of these illustrations will traumatise children, some of the freak-show style faces and expressions could make kids look twice, in that 'disturbed but fascinated' kind of way. Having said that, many nursery rhymes (cutting off tails with a carving knife) should probably come with a PG rating - so perhaps offer this book with a modicum of discretion to kids under 6.

Fabulous, fun, kooky and a great visual spin on the classic cautionary tale.

Title: Noah Dreary
Author/Illustrator: Aaron Blabey
Publisher: Viking, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date:
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9780670077182
For ages: 6 - 10
Type: Picture Book