Charlie & the Hall of Mirrors by Dr Nickers. Illus. by Aaron Pocock

cover image

Charlie is a cat who helps his human friend Gunter in a balloon shop each day. Today they are packing the van and delivering balloons to a fair. When they arrive, Gunter tells Charlie to wait right there but then a balloon starts to float away. 'He must save the day'. But the balloon is soon forgotten, there are too many wonderful sights and he is soon captivated by the tent of mirrors. 'There were big Charlies, wide Charlies, tall Charlies, short Charlies, upside down back to front Charlies but no proper, right Charlie'. Panicked, he begins to wonder if he will ever find his normal body again. The illustrations are quite dark in this scene, with lots of images of Charlie's scared face and then eventually Charlie smashes the mirrors. 'What had just happened? He had not one idea, but all the wrong Charlies no longer appeared'. Back to the van he quickly races, in time to get back before Gunter notices. 'Charlie, is that dirt on your feet?', Gunter exclaims. Of course Gunter knows Charlie has been off an adventure.

This is a fun story with a loose thread about risk-taking and feeling safe and unsafe. Smudgy, painted illustrations bring the story to life and Charlie is depicted as quite a cute lovable little guy with big blue eyes and a vibrant, curious nature.

Themes: Rhyming stories, Adventure.

Nicole Nelson