Review Imelda & the Goblin King by Briony May Smith
Imelda & the Goblin King
By Briony May Smith
Flying Eye Books
Out October 20, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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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 email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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