The dreadful fluff by Aaron Blabey

cover image

Penguin Viking, 2012. ISBN 978 0 670 07599 7.
(Ages: 4+) Recommended. Picture book. Perfection. Humour. I know just the child who would love this. A perfection addict, nothing is out of place, all is neat and tidy and planned in her five year old world. And woebegone anything that changes her routines, just like Serenity the young perfectionist in this new book by Blabey, whose body of work includes Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley, Sunday chutney and The ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon, some of which have been short listed and won awards. But back to Serenity swanning around in her ballet costume, the reader noting the Nobel Prize award on her wall or her achievements in the dressage ring, she pulls fluff from her belly button. She is distraught. But worse still, the fluff seems intent on devouring everything in its sight, growing bigger and bigger by the minute. But when it targets the baby, Serenity acts. In one decisive movement she saves the day, returning to her not so perfect world, and challenging the fluff each time it appears.
This is one very funny book, there are loads of things to look at in the illustrations, the looks on the faces of all involved, the background noise, the things on the wall, the way the pages get darker and creepier as the thing grows larger and larger, all conspire to catch the readers' attention and hold it there while they intently scan each page. I just loved the cat with its security blanket, the mother in her old comfy slippers, the baby and Serenity fighting the thing as it attempts to eat the child, the pages split into two or three pictures, the increasingly dark pages and the figure of Serenity, standing, feet apart, baby on hip, challenging the monster in her sights.
What a wonderful book to talk about with a class. It could be part of a discussion about your body, or being concerned about being perfect, talking about the expression, 'nobody's perfect', or read just for fun. Over and over again.
Fran Knight