Gwen Millward, London: Egmont, pb, 978 1 4052 8682 4, 2018, £6.99, 32pp.
Picture book, fiction, 3-5 years
When things get spilt or broken, or even eaten, it is clear that naughty Tiger did it. Lily declares it is so, and also tells us that Tiger is not sorry. But some things do require punishment. So they run away to be wild. At first, it is exciting, but what happens when it is dark and cold? Sometimes you can be too wild.
Here we meet that familiar scenario of the child with a very real imaginary friend – a friend who can most conveniently bear the blame for any naughtiness. However, sometimes naughtiness can take one a step too far. Without preaching, the youngest readers can see that while being wild may be fun (even for grownups) but also see that boundaries are reassuring and necessary.
Millward’s prose is direct, a delight to read bringing the voice of the child both in her dialogue and reactions clearly to life. The font is exemplary, clear, set against a white ground allowing a judicious choice of variation to emphasise emotion, excitement or atmosphere. Above all, Gwen Millward’s energetic wax crayon lines and expressive palette capture the child-centred nature of this attractive picture book.
Review by FMH