Monday, 25 August 2014

Monty's Magnificent Mane by Gemma O'Neill (Templar Publishing)

Monty's Magnificent Mane

Written and Illustrated by
Gemma O'Neill

Published by Templar Publishing Ltd

We first encountered Gemma's stunning visual style through her art and illustrative methods detailed in Dr Karenanne Knight's "The Picture Book Maker". We somehow missed out on her previous children's book "Oh Dear, Geoffrey" but it was great to finally catch up with her work in this stunning book for Templar.

"Monty's Magnificent Mane" truly is magnificent. Monty, a rather proud and handsome lion, is the king of the jungle and king of the coiffed. His tresses are his treasure, his pompadour is his pride and joy, and Monty never gets tired of brushing, washing and combing his lovely locks.

Monty's friends get a little fed up with his hair obsession but when a new voice compliments Monty on his stunning locks and looks, he can't help but turn his head to show off his barnet to his new-found friend. Danger lurks though, getting too close to a watering hole isn't a good idea - even for a lion, particularly when crocodiles skulk therein.

After a near miss, costing Monty part of his lovely hairstyle, danger is still at hand. Will Monty be a brave beast or a cowardly lion when the nasty croc threatens his meerkat pals?

We were drawn in by Gemma's truly wonderful art (Charlotte loved the fact that Gemma's mixed media and collage work contained tiny little bits of maps and textures, woven into Monty's glorious mane). We loved this tale of Monty's bravery and friendship too. Most of all though we loved Monty and his mane, magnificent in every way (even when he loses half of it part-way through the story!)

We'll be keeping an eye out for more from Gemma. She's hugely talented (probably no surprise then that she's found a home at Templar, who seem to be utterly expert at spotting talented author-illustrators and snapping them up!)

Charlotte's best bit: The intricate details in Monty's mane, and his bravery when helping his friends.

Daddy's Favourite bit: Stunning artwork, a really brilliant and positive message in the story, such a corkingly good read!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Templar Publishing / Gemma O'Neill)