Friday, 22 March 2013

A review of "Again!" by Emily Gravett

Hi Folks in the Smoke,

   The most recent offering from the very talented Emily Gravett is wry, warm and fun.

   "Again!" features a fierce little dragon with an appetite for his favourite bedtime story. The blurb introduces him as Cedric, and that is also the name of the dragon in the tale his weary mum reads to him. The story book Cedric is huge and red and terrorises his neighbours, whereas our Cedric is tiny, green and looks quite innocent; a neat contrast.

   But our Cedric is also a little stroppy and repeatedly demands that his mum read the story again and again. The bedtime tale changes each time, becoming shorter, as Cedric's mum gets wearier. Eventually, she drifts off mid-reading and Cedric loses the plot. He screams and stomps and turns from innocent green to furious red. First he pouts and snorts out smoke but flames soon follow and he then scorches his story book, and charmingly ours as well.

   Gravett's canny text and its presentation make this book - there is one sentence of scene-setting, then all of the story book reading and Cedric's mum's dialogue is captured on the inset illustrated book, while Cedric's only speech is "again", though he does say it 15 times in various tones and at increasing volumes as reflected by different font sizes.

    As ever, the artwork is textured, simple and captivating. The stark white backgrounds allow us to focus on the beautiful inset story book and on our scaly, green protagonists. I love how Cedric boils from his peaceful green to a raging red. The loveliest touch is a spread that seems to look out from inside the favoured story book, its characters look non-too-impressed with the destruction to their home wrought by our grumpy little dragon. 

   This charming tale of tired storyteller and moody toddler might aid those struggling with their own fierce little creatures at bedtime.

    Thanks for reading,

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