Thursday, 18 April 2013

Through the Magic Mirror by Anthony Browne (Walker Books)

Anthony Browne's love letters to all things surreal and Magritte-shaped are always well received by us. Charlotte loves them because she can spend hours picking out all the hidden details in each sumptuously illustrated spread. I love them because I studied Rene Magritte's life and works while I was an art bum at college. So "Through the Magic Mirror" was a wonderful discovery at our local library.

Toby, the young lad in the story, is bored. Bored bored bored. Even being bored is boring, so when Toby discovers a magical mirror that leads to an alternate reality, he explores this topsy turvy world and all its bizarre sights and sounds.

Zoo animals roaming the streets (with plenty of trademark Anthony Browne gorillas in evidence!), crazy weather and a hefty dose of rainbow-hued surreality await young Toby as he ventures forth.

Browne's artwork is always a treat, though sometimes we're often disappointed by his stories and that's the case here. The book feels like it needs something extra, though it was easy to identify with the core theme of what children get up to and where their imaginations take them when they're kicking their heels during those long summer holidays.

Charlotte's best bit: Ooh ooh ooh! Gorilla!

Daddy's favourite bit: I never get tired of Browne's artwork, utterly brilliant, surreal, bonkers but always so beautifully done.