CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 3 . . . . October 1, 2004
There's really not
Sean Moore makes his children's book debut with this uniquely illustrated exploration of what lurks at "the bottom of stairs." Using monochromatic colors, Moore presents a caricature of a child who voices his concerns over what lives at the bottom of his own home's basement stairs.
The book is presented with large and simple text that is well mated with the simple cartoon drawings. The illustrations emphasize the darkness and the fear that the child feels about the basement through the use of colour and dramatic, sweeping lines. The unique style of Sean Moore is refreshing to see in a picture book. His sketches are casual, larger-than-life, and fun.
Interestingly, although the fear of the unknown is introduced, there is no reconciliation at the end of the book. My preschooler was unimpressed with this fact, leading me to believe that this book is not quite on the mark for the age group that it targets. In the end, the fear is not dispelled, leaving the young reader feeling uneasy. Moore makes a strong effort to be humourous both in his drawings and his text, but it remains difficult to shake the feeling that maybe there really IS something at the bottom of the stairs. Older children would find this amusing and thrilling, but the overall presentation and design of the work makes it unlikely that this is for whom the book was designed.
Recommended with reservations.
Christina Neigel is an instructor for the Library and Information Technology Diploma Program at the University College of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.