By Rachel Ortas
Published by Tate Publishing
Review by Kathryn Smith
A combination of quirky characters, compelling illustrations, a narrative which wants the audience to actively make their own personal drawings and create using simple to read instructions.
The Messy Monster book invites children on an extended adventure with the eponymous character from cult children’s art and science magazine OKIDO.
The book tells the story of the Kiri Kiri islanders, haunted by nightmares who can no longer dream sweet dreams. The Messy Monster along with his friends travel on an adventure to find out the source of the islanders nightmares.
There is a range of characters in the book, with the most notable presence being the Messy Monster himself. He and this two friends Zoe and Felix are the focus of the main story, with all three of them travelling to different locations such as the Planet of the Dreaming Mountain. The other main characters interact with the audience, the creative cats called Cutty and Doodle come up in parts of the story where there are opportunities for the reader to Cut or Doodle. We also have the character of Platoo the Philosopher, who is the one who poses interesting questions to the reader and talks about the moral points the book is trying to make. Morals on friendship and working hard, which can be summed up in Platoos final question “Sometimes it is worth working Hard to make ourselves feel happy. Do you agree?”. All these characters form playful and important roles for the audience to understand the story, moral and create a sense of fun.
With a target audience of 5+ its clear to see how this book is aimed at the children. The text is minimal with most of the focus dedicated to each illustration on the page. The book’s main colour scheme of Blue and Red adds colours as the story progresses. Still, there is a sense that the story can be enjoyed by both children and adults together, through the activities and enjoyment of the illustrations.
The Messy Monster Book is a fun filled adventure, filled with wonderful illustrations and activities for children and adults to enjoy.