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

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Review: The Cranky Caterpillar

Art and music collide in this surreal and alluring picture book about a gloomy bowler-hatted caterpillar and an earnest girl, named Ezra.

British artist Richard Graham bases the caterpillar character on a one-off sculpture he created from recycled materials.

The Cranky Caterpillar lives inside an upright piano and is far from happy about it. Although he tries desperately to find a happy tune, he is doomed to life inside the piano, playing 'the same sad tune'.

But, one day, his 'blue' tune piques the interest of the endearing Ezra, who takes it upon herself to help the miserable caterpillar. She tries everything: fresh air, sweet treats, even new hats. Nothing will help.

So Ezra enlists the aid of some friends. Pablo Tuba, Gary Gee-tar, Wassily the Violin and a tambourine-playing cat form a band and fill the room with a surge of happy music. Colour and life burst into the room and the piano, so excited, suddenly explodes. 

When Ezra looks inside the piano, the caterpillar has disappeared and surprises them all with a glorious transformation.

Inspired by Wassily Kandinsky's theory of colour synesthesia, Graham captures the magical harmony between colour and music with subtle beauty and delight. This stunning book reads as an ode to fine art, with nods throughout to the work of Kandinsky and Pablo Picasso. But it's also a celebration of music and the wondrous power it has to transform the way we feel.

Title: The Cranky Caterpillar
Author/Illustrator: Richard Graham
Publisher: Thames & Hudson, $21.99
Publication Date: September 2017
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780500651087
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book