The Totally Terrifying Three: Hiawyn Oram & David Melling
(Hodder Children’s Books, 2011)
It’s paperback publication day on Thursday (1st November), but I’m amazed we haven’t reviewed this book yet as we’ve had it since hardback publication a year ago. You can often find books before the official publication date and as it’s slightly Halloween-y, here’s the review to perhaps send you to your nearest bookshop searching for a copy…
Once there was a Dragon who was convinced he was TOTALLY TERRIFYING. One look at himself in the mirror and he nearly jumped out of his skin.
If you’re a regular reader you may be shocked to know that I am a huge David Melling fan… Yeah, okay, it’s somewhat obvious (Hugless Douglas Week for example…) This book is full of my favourite things David draws: Dragons! Witches! Trees! Everything!
I could easily take the double spread above and frame it, it’s so wonderful. That is, if I could get past the sacrilege of destroying a book… It also neatly summarises everything in the story: the dragon, the witch, the giant, the toddler, and of course long-suffering Wiggles the dog.
The story follows a Dragon, who thinks he is too terrifying, so he leaves his neighbours and finds… A Witch, who thinks she is too terrifying (but neither the Dragon or Witch are terrified), so they leave together and find… A Giant, who thinks he is too terrifying (but none of the three are terrified), so they leave together and find… A Toddler, who also isn’t terrified… Which leads to some rethinking of their totally terrifying status, and a new three set out to scare… “absolutely NOBODY!”
MG particularly loves humour in words like “scar[ing] the pants off people” and the fact that all the characters are basically just very silly and not at all scary. DG likes the brave toddler (and all the scary looking bits!) I love the details, as ever: look at what the dog and cat are doing in each picture; the trees (they need their own book); two bats near the witch’s hat at all times; the giant’s car and what happens when he stands up…
Hiyawyn Oram and David Melling are both deservedly acclaimed and this collaboration is a fine example of both their work. Other Halloween-suitable books by the totally terrific two (although not as collaborations) that we’ve already reviewed: The Ghost Library & Rumblewick and the Dinner Dragons.