So what did I think?
I’m a huge fan of the Barrington Stoke “Little Gems” series: the books are SO well designed with a nice-fit-in-your-hand size, thick cream paper, clear font, perfect text to image ratio…ah, I could go on… So I’m always checking out their latest stories.When I spotted this one with the killer combo of Brian Patten and Chris Riddell, I just knew it would be a delight!
The striking front cover shows Chris Riddell’s Grendel in a shiny metallic silver with the title gleaming out in metallic green.The green/red/black theme continues throughout the text in the coloured illustrations so that the book oozes a classic quality.
The blurb reads:
One dark night, the music and singing woke a monster from a swamp…
It’s the story of Grendel waking from a hundred year sleep and hearing the festivities of the King’s feast.
“Grendel hated music. He hated it because he hated the humans that made it. He hated it with a hatred that burned bright as a star. He hated it as only a demon can hate. It reminded him of what an outcast he was..”
The story tells the tale of the battle between Grendel and Beowulf, and is indeed pretty gory (steer clear ye faint-hearted), and has plenty of action to entertain 8-12 year olds. Brian Patten tells the story in a very powerful and gripping way, which young readers will be in awe of. He evokes such emotion, for example, when Grendel’s mother, the Hag, appears.
Reading the story is an absolute joy, and Brian’s Patten’s prose is pure poetry. The tale unfolds quickly and paints a vivid picture (reminding me of The Iron Man by Ted Hughes). It’s so rare to find story telling of this quality, that this really is one to treasure. An absolute must for action-thirsty readers (and school libraries)!
13th March 2016