But yesterday my ten year old came home with The Minpins on loan from his teacher. I'd heard of it from my friend Sarah a few years ago, but think its safe to say its a slightly lesser known Dahl title. Illustrated by Patrick Benson, it was an unexpected treat for both of us. I love Patrick Bensons soft, gentle on the eye drawings, and could read Owl Babies a thousand times (actually, I probably have) and not get tired of those many, tiny black lines. Just look at this forest, and these little people.
Anyways, it was his bedtime read last night, lets find out what he thought."I loved it."
Why? What was it about?
"There was a boy who wasn't allowed into the woods and he went in and was chased by the Gruncher!
The Gruncher? Who was that?
I loved the Gruncher! You couldn't see him, only his breath, he breathed out smoke because there was fire inside him, and you could see his shadow."
So what happens to the boy?
"He climbs up a tree and finds the Minpins."
Who are they?
"These nice little people who are afraid of the Gruncher."
So does the boy help them?
"Yes! Its brilliant, he leads the Gruncher..."
I'll leave it there as I don't want to give away the ending but suffice to say, its a good one.
Picture books like this, with a bit more bite, are great. It gives older kids an age appropriately gripping tale and the pleasure of great illustrations too. This would be a perfect present for anyone between eight and twelve. I mean, why should the little ones get all the nice stuff? Picture books for all ages, I say!
P.s. I forgot to mention that one his favourite parts of the book was the way the Minpins talk to and travel on birds. Pretty cool right?