My first thought when I read this book was ‘really? This is by a first-time author? This is incredible!’ This book is so polished that I thought that perhaps Paul Beavis was an educational writer who had just broken into the trade market. While he is a graphic designer, he designs websites for a living, and this is in fact his first book. It is highly unusual for Gecko to gamble on a kiwi unknown, but this one has certainly paid off.
Mrs. Mo’s Monster is about a fantastic little monster who only knows one thing – how to ‘CRUNCH, MUNCH AND CHEW’. Through Mrs. Mo’s patience, the little monster realises there is more to life than this one behaviour, and that if he lets Mrs. Mo teach him, he will have even more fun.
The illustrations are a canny combination of hand illustration and computer manipulation. The style is perfectly matched to the story, and the use of colour is superb. I particularly like the place the monster goes to carry on his rampage in peace – the use of darkness in these pages clearly indicates his dilemma. The use of shadows is also intriguing in the final spread – hopefully my children realise that they could well be drawings of them. (Though my 3-year-old wanted to see the kids ‘properly’!)
The book design by Paul and Vida Kelly is as always, gorgeous. I was very happy to meet Vida at a Writer’s Week event recently, and she seemed a bit surprised I knew of her!
Well done Gecko Press for yet another gorgeous production. While the dust covers can be annoying, as there is a very high chance that my second little monster will CRUNCH MUNCH AND CHEW it, I figure if I put them away now, when the kids are older and appreciate how good their books were while growing up, it can look as good as new. Yes I know this is somewhat defeating the purpose, but it is much easier for them to destroy the dust cover for most books than the actual cover!
Review by Sarah Forster
Mrs. Mo’s Monster
by Paul Beavis
Published by Gecko Press
Book Launch: Wednesday, April 9 at 6:00pm – 7:30pm at the Children’s Bookshop, Kilbirnie, Wellington