‘Some children are unfortunate others are just plain bad’
Agatha Bilke is a problem child, a girl with more than a passing penchant for arson. At their wits end, her parents admit her to the TreadQuietly Clinic for interesting children an institute run by Dr Alan and Tim Humphrey, who believe they have developed the ultimate ‘creative’ therapy that will revolutionise the treatment of all forms of childhood anxiety, phobia, hysteria and neurosis’ their belief is somewhat misplaced.
This is journalist, Sian Pattenden’s first children’s books and Short Books fist work of fiction and it is certainly a most distinctive and readable offering. Characters in this short, pacy book are in equal parts peculiar and endearing ‘ Barry, a boy who has the unfortunate affliction not to be able to refer to himself in anything but the third person, is one of the most humorous and memorable.
Each child admitted to the TreadQuietly clinic has his own particular fear, phobia or some-such foible; for one this is toast, for another the belief that meteorites might befall the planet at any given point’ Treatment of these characters is largely individualistic which provides a framed setting for a series of vignettes rather than the cohesion of more traditional novels. The stylish and sophisticated illustrations lend the book a quirky fable-like feel. It would sit comfortably amidst stories with a similar ‘cautionary’ feel including Tim Burton’s ‘Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy’, Tom Baker’s ‘The Boy Who Kicked Pigs’ and of course the seminar tales by Hillaire Belloc.