Mischievous, witty and playful, Nibbles: The Book Monster by Emma Yarlett (@EmmaYarlett_) is one of the most enjoyable picture books to read aloud I’ve come across in a long time. Indeed, it’s the sort of book that makes you want to go in for kidnapping small children if you don’t have any to hand.
Nibbles is a rather cute looking yellow ball full of energy with wide open eyes and a big smile. But don’t be deceived. He’s actually a monster. And a monster with a voracious appetite at that. He’ll eat anything and everything, but most of all he loves to gobble his way through books.
With each turn of the page we try desperately to catch up with Nibbles as he munches his way through fairy stories, surprising the characters inside along the way, and causing us readers to giggle and squeal with glee at the chaos he leaves behind him. Can we readers save the day and stop all this destruction? Will we be quick enough to capture Nibbles before he swallows all our favourite stories?
A reader’s delight, the energy and naughtiness of Nibbles will also capture the imagination of those who haven’t yet experienced how books can quicken one’s pulse and give so much enjoyment. Pacey and funny, drawing the reader and listener in to become active themselves within the confines of the story Nibbles: The Book Monster is a triumph.
Yarlett’s illustrations are rich, tactile and full of clever details. Fans of David Roberts will especially appreciate Yarlett’s style and patterning, whilst her gorgeous hand-drawn lettering might make you think of Oliver Jeffers’ work. The book as a physical object is gorgeous; full of flaps (surely a loving nod to the classic Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell) and cut-outs to explore, with fine attention paid to every detail from the textured cover to the barcode on the back (it’s definitely one to add to this fun post from 100 Scope Notes about the art of the picture book barcode).
Those who love reading and who happily devour books are often portrayed as “bookish”, quiet or shy but here is a
bookworm a book monster full of verve and gumption – a whirlwind of activity showing that having a passion for books can be great fun. A brilliant book to savour, guaranteed to get listeners asking for seconds.
For a bit more of a flavour of Nibbles: The Book Monster, here’s the book trailer:
Unsurprisingly, we simply had to create some books we could lick our lips over alongside reading Nibbles: The Book Monster and I wanted to come up with something very simple, that even the kids could manage. We bought some ready-made puff pastry and the girls cut it into equal sized rectangles, placing one on top of the other, before pressing them down together in the middle (we used a skewer for this).
Once cooked (we just followed the instruction on the pastry packet), these rectangles puffed up to look like the pages of an open book. As soon as we took them out of the oven, we pressed down again in the middle, to help create that effect of open pages.
A dusting of icing sugar, a dollop of fresh cream, some strawberries and a special message from Nibbles written with coulis completed our booky treat.
As you’ll see, Nibbles tried to eat our edible books. Once sated Nibbles went to explore our bookshelves:
Can you spot Nibbles? (you can click on the shelves for a larger image to make hunting Nibbles easier).
Once you find Nibbles, do tweet the answer (the title of the book that Nibbles is diving into) using the hashtag #FindNibbles. All correct answers will go into a draw run by the publisher (@littletigeruk) and one person will be chosen to go forward into a prize draw at the end of the week to win their own copy of Nibbles – both toy and book! (If you don’t already follow me on Twitter, I’d love to see you over there – I’m @playbythebook.)
Whilst baking and sharing our edible books with Nibbles we listened to:
Other activities which might work well alongside reading Nibbles: The Book Monster include:
If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:
Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.