THE CREATURE by Helen Bate
Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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A fuchsia-colored whatsit arrives to stay a year.

Alfie the cat, as cats will do, drags it into the house and drops it on the living room floor, looking smug. “It was cold, it was wet / it was trembling and hairy…. / Then it awoke, / GROWLING and SCARY.” The growl is something to behold, a great, loopy, multicolored scribble of lines. The three white kids brush it outside like a mouse, but the Creature finds a way back in each time; it’s snowing, for goodness sake. “By springtime the creature had settled in well,” eating cardboard, stinking things up, eating plastic, attracting flies, and, beguilingly, “During the night / it was out in the dark, / exploring the garden / or sometimes the park. / It was just in its nature, / it needed to roam….” The Creature crawls up into its mare’s nest of an upper bunk and goes to ground in autumn. On Christmas Eve, there are not one but two Creatures, who simply take their leave out the mail slot, not to be seen again (“but one day YOU might”). It’s a lovely salute to community, embracing even the stinkiest member—don’t even try to guess the Creatures’ species, not polecats, not skunks—with bonhomie. The artwork is a gripping mix of shadows and striking elements of color.

Curious and curiouser—and altogether a pleasure to experience. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-91095-914-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Otter-Barry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2017


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