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Night Post h/c


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Night Post h/c back

Benjamin Read & Laura Trinder

Price: 
12.99

Page 45 Review by Jonathan

Like Raymond Briggs' Snowman meets the Munsters in a true monster mash-up, this wordless yarn will bring a little festive fright, I mean, cheer, into your homes this Christmas. Actually, as our story begins with a typical day like any other drawing to a close, it is clear from the profusion of pumpkins peering out spookily from windows or devilishly illuminating doorsteps that this is around Halloween. But, irrespective of the time of year, the post must go out. So, after a doting dad has settled his precious little princess with a story, it's out to work, heading off to the 'Regal Mail' depot for the late shift. Which is where we get our first hint that the job of the night postie might not be quite so straightforward as during the waking hours...

Past the restricted access door marked 'Night Post', down the endless, uneven stone steps to a gloomy dungeon lit only by a flaming brazier, our postie at last approaches a huge wooden door, festooned with elaborate ironmongery. With the aid of the golden key hanging half-hidden round his neck, he gains access into the inner sanctum of... the sorting office... Yes, at first glance you might think this is just a normal bustling posse of posties, sorting their bags and plotting their routes, but look closer... Are those bats hanging from the rafters? Do some of his colleagues look, well, a little ghoulish? Why are there tentacles wriggling out from underneath that desk?! Why is there a crocodile encased in purple paper wrapped paper complete with a lovely red bow perched on top of that desk?!! Still, his workmates give him a cheery wave and welcome him in, like it's all perfectly normal. And, after some slight difficulties ramming one last huge, bizarrely shaped parcel into his TARDIS-like bicycle panniers, he's ready to turn those peddles and get posting, which is where the fun-filled fright-fest really begins!

Ghosts, goblins, witches, werewolves, zombies, vampires, in fact pretty much every horror monster ever conceived, created or indeed brought to life with lightning in a laboratory are on our intrepid postie's route. Most are delighted to receive their letters and parcels, but there are more than a few that just can't help reverting to type and trying to munch their messenger immediately after receipt! How very ungrateful of them! Our valiant envoy of the Regal Mail will manage to complete his deliveries of course, rest assured, but there are going to be many an amusing close call along the way!

Ah, this is great fun. I loved reading it to my daughter, who does like her monsters, and hearing her cackle with delight as the postie came ever closer to being somebody's supper. I say "read", mind you, but do bear in mind this is a wordless tale. The upside of course being it will stimulate the imagination of children everywhere as their inner narrator gets to work composing a soundtrack and dialogue for the action. The downside is if you're a knackered dad wanting to get his child off to bed so you can finally relax, you'll have to put a bit more work in doing a monstrous enough narration to satisfy your audience. Actually I felt rather like I'd put on a one-man Hammer House of Horror half hour homage show by the time I'd finished - PG rated, obviously - but it was well worth it listening to Isabella's giggles. Trust me, though, doing sound effects for the Creature From The Black Lagoon plays havoc with your tonsils...

So much to admire in the script and artwork here, there are some absolutely brilliant visual gags, such as when you find out that the vampire's parcel in fact contains a vegetarian cookbook! Ben has really thought through his narrative and Laura has illustrated it to perfection in a style that is a glorious mix of Raymond Briggs and Charles Vess. There is an immense amount of work gone into the storytelling here, which of course is essential if you are going to do a wordless book, but having read more children's books than I can recall in the last three and a half years, I can truly say this has been produced with so much more love and attention to detail by its creators than most. Adults will get a kick out of spotting all the classic monsters, as I did, and kids will adore the fact that it's a teeny, weeny bit scary yet utterly ridiculous at the same time. Plus, there is that all important happy ending which I thought was very sweet and touching, actually.

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