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by David Almond ; illustrated by Dave McKean

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: May 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5912-7
Publisher: Candlewick

An award-winning British team conjures a haunting graphic novella that shows what happens when the complacent gods stop creating things and children pick up the slack.

The gods—slothful as Roman emperors—loll about half-naked in the clouds eating cake and looking down upon their creations, which range from mighty mountains to delicate wisteria. But they abandoned their world-building long ago, leaving empty gaps and spaces as huge as deserts or “no bigger than a fingernail.” Harry, Sue and Little Ben are children who inhabit the gods’ incomplete world. One day, Ben, finding this too-empty landscape peculiar, yells up at the gods, “It needs more things in it!” The children proceed to imagine—and then construct with twigs, clay and grasses—a few things themselves. The titular mouse, bird, snake and wolf spring to life! Spoiler: Creating the wolf backfires hideously. Skellig (2009) author Almond’s tale is as otherworldly as ever, his themes of imagination and creativity nuanced. In inventive comic-book–style panels and theatrical full-bleed spreads, McKean adds a fierce, frightening texture to the narrative. The edgy, toga-wearing gods above and children down below are sculptural, as if they were molded out of clay—a fitting image for a creation story.

Wild and alive, this visually extravagant fable of the marvel, power and active nature of the creative process howls at the moon. (art not seen in full color) (Graphic novella. 9-12)