I love books about books. Children love books about dragons and wolves, especially if they are misbehaving. And so, in a combination so delicious I could just eat it, I give you This is my Book by Mick Inkpen. A gorgeous book where a Bookmouse attempts to stop a Snapdragon doing nasty things to the words in his book. That is beautiful enough in itself- a Bookmouse! Wearing little glasses! But things get better and better in this book.
The story starts on the endpapers, before you get to the title page. In fact the title page is a part of the story.
The naughtiness that the Snapdragon attempts to inflict on the book includes eating the letters, sucking up the dots from the i’s and blowing them out at passers-by. He is a very naughty dragon indeed! Before you know it he has swept in and bitten off the k and part of the B from Book. Older children who are starting to read will get an extra level of enjoyment here as they see for themselves that this theft creates the word ‘Poo’.
Luckily, the Bookmouse has a plan and a small gathering of friends to help him, including Clockwork Penguin, Little Horse, Blue Bear and the mysterious Blink Owl. Those names! Who wouldn’t want a Blink Owl as a friend to save the day?
They need to find some ‘O’s but the only place they can get them from is the Moonwood where the ghosts of the Woollywolves live. (Gulp!) Our brave hero grabs the ‘O’s and puts his plan into action. All his friends join in and when the Snapdragon returns ‘O’s are flying everywhere as they shout Boo in their biggest and loudest voices. Of course all ends well and the Snapdragon realises the error of his ways, returning the previously pinched k to the end of the book.
For me, this book is a thing of beauty. I love the inventive interaction with the typeface and the way it encourages children to look at the make up of the words and the book itself. The text becomes a part of the illustrations; the characters become characters.
It is a wonderful introduction to playing with language, creating words from other words and messing about with the text. Mick Inkpen has created some really loveable characters that will inspire little imaginations everywhere. I’m so glad I stumbled across this book, it is a real beauty.
Source: Our lovely local library.
Published in 2009 by Hodder Children’s Books.