AUTHOR = ASPHYXIA
GENRE = GOTHIC, DIARY, FAMILY
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7-9
This is a delightful story, part novel, part picture book, part diary. Martha Grimstone is the young child whose diary provides the story. She comes from an unusual family in an unusual gothic world. Her mother sews (and grieves for her dead husband) her grandfather is an apothecary (who weaves spells to heal illness and hopes to control the weather), her brother is a cute toddler with 3 legs and magical ability and her rather stern aunt is Martha’s teacher. Martha is inquisitive and perceptive. She desperately wants to help her family and is great at making plans for new ventures. Unfortunately her projects do not always turn out quite as she expected them to, often resulting in chaotic outcomes for both Martha and those around her.
This story is based on the puppet theatre created by the author, Asphyxia, so many of the illustrations are photos of the puppets and models that the puppeteer has created . As the story is told in dairy format, the pages do indeed look exactly like pages in a dairy – with Martha’s sketches and plans stuck in or taped down. These notes and drawings and the illustrations in general, add a visual depth and richness to the story, providing an air of credibility to a very gothic fantasy tale.
The rich illustrations complement the rich language and vocabulary of the story – providing a perfect match for the charming imagery. All in all, a delightfully quirky tale told in a delightfully quirky way.
Check out the author’s website for more info.about the author herself, her creations and her other books.
Highly Recommended (dma) ******