A delightfully encouraging and warmly reassuring tale to foster adventurous spirits and feed curiosity about what lies beyond your front door, Paul Beavis’ Hello World! is a perfect picture book to put the wind beneath the wings of all those learning to explore their world around them.
Monster is bored and Mr. and Mrs. Mo, his elderly carers, are busy. Undismayed, Monster decides to go off exploring by himself and packs his rucksack with equipment worthy of an adventurer wishing to prepare himself for any eventuality.
Fishing rod? Check.
And then Monster is off, enthusiastically crossing over fields, then a wide river, into exotic canyons, leaving a peculiar trail behind him (the reader can decide for themselves whether this is a deliberately Hansel-and-Gretel-like act or simply accidental) as items fall from his bulging bag.
Just when Monster’s energy and faith in the wisdom of his plan begin to flag, Mrs. Mo ‘miraculously’ appears with sandwiches at the ready. Once re-fueled, Monster draws his friend onwards for a final push up to the top of a nearby hill, whereupon the extra effort is richly rewarded with a breathtaking view showing a welcoming world filled with warmth and and wide-open opportunities.
This terrific tale sends subtle but solid encouragement to its readers and listeners – to have the confidence to follow their dreams, safe in the knowledge that loved ones will always be there when they need them.
Beavis’ illustrations are a tour de force, using perspective and palette to cleverly reinforce the written story; colour intensifies and the reader’s viewpoint zooms ever closer in until the moment of greatest tension in the story. This visual magnification and turning up of the heat adds another layer of drama to the play unfolding as the pages are turned.
Beautifully paced, Hello World! is also funny, touching and just the sort of story to put a spring in your step the next time you venture out to see what the new day holds for you, whether you are 4 or 94.
Inspired to get out there and feel the elements on our skin and see what unexpected surprises we could stumble upon, the girls and I decide to go on our own adventure. To help us prepare, I asked Paul Beavis for his advice. Here’s the wisdom he shared with us:
Paul’s publisher, Julia Marshall of Gecko Press, also gave us some sage advice about packing a rucksack for an adventure, but to find out what she said, you’ll have to visit Playing by the book’s facebook page.
With Paul and Julia’s advice in mind, we packed our bags and headed out for our adventure. The girls were in charge and we spent a day going in whichever direction they chose. It was definitely a “go with the flow” type of day (for me), and the girls were so excited to be completely in charge of where we went and what we looked at. Definitely a bit different to lots of other sorts of family outings!
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Hello World!, here’s what we packed, and some of the colours and textures we saw:
Whilst out and about we didn’t listen to any music, but if you’re after some kid-friendly adventuring music you might enjoy:
Other activities which might work well alongside reading Hello World! include:
If you liked this post, you might enjoy seeing what’s in my handbag, reading about an earlier adventure with Monster and lots of sticky liquids, or discovering two non-fiction books designed to encourage families to get outside exploring.
Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.
Find out more about Paul and his work at www.facebook.com/mrsmosmonster and www.paulbeavis.com, or find him on Twitter @PDBeavis. In particular you might find Paul’s Facebook post about explaining his thought process for one spread in Hello World! interesting.