Thursday, 14 May 2009

The Bomb That Followed Me Home (Rumpleville Chronicles): Cevin Soling and Steve Kille

We've all heard of stray cats following kids home or a lost puppy yelping by a kitchen door for food, but did you know that even a wayward little bomb needs love and attention to?

When a bomb, looking for a friend, follows a young boy home, trouble breaks out in a suburban household that is just trying to keep peace with the angry neighbors next door.

I make it quite clear that I don't review picture books so by sending me a picture book to review, the authors of The Bomb That Followed Me Home: A Fairly Twisted Fairy Tale already have a strike against them.

Because this is a picture book it has relatively little text and I'll admit, I consequently reached the end before I'd found my fifteen errors: so as I do follow the rules here, I shall now review the book even though it shouldn't have been submitted to me in the first place.

According to the the press release which was included with this book, the author and illustrator responsible for this book are being deliberately provocative in an attempt to make their readers think about social issues: I wish they'd spent a little more time working on their story, and a little less time thinking about how clever they could be, because it just doesn't work.

In the book, a bomb follows a little boy home; the next-door neighbour shouts at the boy when he takes a short cut through her garden; and as his parents don't like the neighbour either, they end up giving the bomb to her. You can guess the ending. And if you want to be helpful you could also try to guess the social commentary contained within the story because all I can see here is a book with an ugly cover and a retro-in-all-the-wrong-ways design; an unengaging text with a few clumsy attempts at humour and characterisation, and a glib, self-congratulatory tone which alienated me right from the start.


Barb said...

I've read this post a couple of times now and I still don't get it. Would this story really appeal to a child? If I try and read my niece anything that has a hint of a lesson in it, she's not interested.

Is the material really directed at the adults who are going to read this to the kids? If that's the case, wouldn't it be more effective to just write a serious piece for those interested in this subject.

I accept that I may be missing something here, but it want people to buy a book, they need to "get it".

Barb said...

Sorry, that last sentence should have said:
I accept that I may be missing something here, but if you want people to buy a book, they need to "get it".

Jane Smith said...

Barb, I'll admit: I have no idea who this book is intended for, or precisely what the writer and illustrator were aiming at when they put it together: it's bizarre, and odd, in a wholly unattractive way. I am as confused as you are about this book's market and the intentions of the people behind it. It isn't clever enough or funny enough to work as satire; it isn't engaging enough to work as a children's book. I can't imagine why it was published, but can understand why it didn't attract the attentions of a mainstream press.