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Emily Gravett
Macmillan Children's Books
Aug 2005
Progression in post-modern approaches to picture books has brought exciting changes to the format. Notable innovators who have explored and evolved these boundaries include Pablo Bernasconi, Lauren Child, Sara Fanelli, Mini Grey and Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean to name but a small handful. �Wolves�, the debut book by Emily Gravett constitutes her own singular addition to the oeuvre.

Ostensibly a book about wolves, this book brilliantly charts the mimetic processes of reading undertaken by the poor, unfortunate rabbit who finds himself the hapless protagonist in this post-structural work having curiously just borrowed a familiar looking book about wolves from West Buckinghamshire Public Burrowing Library!

If this sounds staid or unappealing, it is the dynamism between the crisp, clear, well-defined illustrations and the sparse, informative text from whence, between both, the resultant meta-narrative blossoms, that brings this highly original three-tone book to life�

This truly is a book to be loved, cherished and adored by all who value reading because it wonderfully maps the way words and pictures hold that remarkable ability to fuel our minds and imaginations, drawing us gradually further into their clutches until the boundaries between reader and what is read become blurred at the edges!

The intense preoccupation and determination of the rabbit brings to mind John Tenniel�s interpretation of the White Rabbit in Carroll�s �Alice�s Adventures in Wonderland�. Here is a rabbit who is so intent upon doggedly continuing his reading and his quest for knowledge about wolves, that he is oblivious to the fact that first his ear, then his posterior and gradually his entire body becomes consumed within the narrative of the book, ultimately to be consumed by the wolves therein�

If that sounds frightening the author quickly asserts:

�no rabbits were eaten during the making of this book�

and an alternative ending is provided for sensitive readers. If this sounds like pandering towards readership in pursuit of the ubiquitous �happy-ever-after�, it is worth noting this comes after the book within the narrative is laid down and is itself pieced together from scraps of the ravaged book � a concession, or something further to think about? The choice is yours! Roll on Emily Gravett's next book, "Meerkat Mail" published in August this year...

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This page contains a single entry by Jacob published on March 16, 2006 1:21 PM.

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