Review Blog

Oct 05 2017

The amazing monster DeTeCToScOPe by Graeme Base

cover image

PenguinViking, 2017. ISBN 9780670079308
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Monsters, Childhood fears, Interactive story, Rhyming story. What fun will be had by lucky children given this as a present or those in a classroom where they are encouraged to handle the book with care. It certainly warrants lots of looking, reading, and interaction, and will make readers laugh out loud at the way Base incorporates his monsters into the most ordinary of household appliances. From the bathroom to the bedroom, laundry and the kitchen, monsters lurk everywhere, and the plucky dog with his newly purchased machine can scope them out. Readers will be able to use the viewfinder to move the perspective of the picture to uncover the monsters lurking inside. Many will recognise monsters they have dreaded, particularly under their beds, as they read along. For those with a meticulous eye, looking at the background of each double page will intrigue and delight as all sorts of things are included. But in the end the dog realises that his machine just will not do, so he turns and confronts the monsters, which surprisingly, melt away.
Children will be able to articulate what monsters they fear and where they are to be found in their house, while reading this book about the monsters lurking inside and out. Base has used his considerable illustrative and design skill to reflect the fears of children as the dog tramps through the house in search of the many monsters. Each double page is different, exciting and enticing, the mechanics of the turning wheel inviting to little fingers simply wanting to know what will happen when they turn the viewfinder. Most of the pages are shown through the dog's perspective: looking at the dolls in the sister's room or looking into the kitchen, but several take a different slant as the dog looks out into the road towards the garbage truck, or Base shows a different view of the bathroom from the ceiling. All adds interest and variety sure to captivate the readers.
Base is well known to audiences for his unusual offerings since My grandma lives in Gooligulch (1983) but it was Animalia in 1986 that announced him as an award winning artist, winning many prestigious awards. I loved The last king of Angkor Wat (2014) and this new book is sure to be a favourite as well, having parallels to Truck dogs (2003), which holds number one spot with me.
Fran Knight

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