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Review Imelda & the Goblin King by Briony May Smith


Imelda & the Goblin King
By Briony May Smith

Flying Eye Books

ISBN: 9781909263659
Grades PreK-2
Out October 20, 2015

Find it at:
Schuler Books | Your Library

There has maybe never been a time in human history when we are more focused on “new”. I’m guilty of it. It seems like with all the advanced announcements, advance reader copies, and advance praise, a book hitting the shelves isn’t an introduction, but a conclusion. But story, try as we may, is anything but new. In a lot of ways, lines can be drawn from just about any story on shelves today to those that have been told for generations. With Imelda & the Goblin King, Briony May Smith has created a new story that feels old – and I mean that in the best possible way.

There once was a girl called Imelda and all her life she had lived next to a wood.

Imelda was friends with the fairy folk who lived there. Over time, she learned of their secrets – like the fact that red berries have the power to turn whoever eats them into a worm. One day, the Goblin King – nasty and selfish – shows up and refuses to share the fairy solstice feast. When confronted, he captures the queen. The fairies turn to Imelda, who hatches a plan to bring the king down to size. Earthworm size.

Imelda 2

The story feels immediately familiar, but not tired. Folktale tropes are put to good use, immediately immersing the reader into a world of good vs. evil.

Imelda 1

The busy, bright illustrations give the reader plenty to look at. The goblin king is given a gleeful menace, with a deep scowl giving way to a mouth full of sharp teeth.

It’s new. It’s old. It’s pretty great. This is a book that should work well for your next storytime.

Review copy from the publisher.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.