Sunday, 6 May 2012

A review of "Bella and Monty - A Hairy, Scary Night" by Alex T. Smith

Hey Folks in the Smoke,
   I know this is another Alex T Smith review but a lovely friend gave "Bella and Monty" to me after my "Ella" post so I thought I'd stick with him for one more blog.

   Bella and Monty are best friends though polar opposites in the courage stakes - Bella is a brave and inquisitive puppy while Monty is shy and scaredy kitten.


   Monty's fears are wide and varied and on a sleepover Bella teaches him that the dark is necessary but not evil, ghosts and ghouls are quite cool and spiders aren't creeps at all. Their nocturnal adventure is cute and gentle with just the right amount of edge and darkness to the illustrations. My favourite spread is the ghoul classroom, it's so witty. Monty learns life is full of interesting encounters and that frights are more imagined than present. He is emboldened by the time they return through a bat-ted wood to their snug sleeping bags. Enough so as to play a prank on Bella. A sound night's sleep ensues.

   Smith's characters are loveable and the text has a lovely cadence to it ("his whiskers wobbled and his tail quivered"). His illustrations are warm, even when their subject is dark and full of fears. He uses texture, flock and fabric to build up his images - and the pictures are full and vibrant as a result. I liked the colour palette and style of this much more than "Ella", I'd have to admit.  

   A great bedtime tale to banish monsters under beds. Thanks for reading,

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