The good folks at Penguin Random House Canada heard that I had a kid, so they sent me a picture book to enjoy with my daughter. They didn’t ask for a review in return, but I feel as if it’s the least I can do, so here it goes, a review of a kid’s book: my best attempt.
If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki Vansickle, illustrated by Cale Atkinson was a lovely book; and I believe I am now experienced enough in children’s literature to state this with confidence, because I’ve read some pretty crappy kids books since my baby was born a year ago: ones that don’t even make sense, or have absolutely no storyline or point to them. Many are a poor excuse to simply include touch and feel pages to them, with the worst accompanying text you’ve ever read. This book thankfully does not fall into that category.
Many children’s books have a moral or lesson to them; this story is no different. If I Had a Gryphon begins with a young girl introducing her pet hamster, then it follows her imagination as she ponders how fun it would be to have a fantastical animal as a pet instead (unicorns, manticores, etc.). She quickly realizes that having these crazy animals would be more complicated than enjoyable, so she is happy to settle with her ‘plain old hamster’. Spoiler alert: the cute hamster has a few tricks up his sleeve too, which you learn about (while the girl’s back is turned) on the last page. It’s adorable, and I get a little smirk every time I read it. Kudos to the illustrator Cale Atkinson on this too; the pictures of these super cool creatures are fun to look at, and not at all scary for kids.
The amount of text on the page is enough to keep my one year-old interested, but not bored. But I’m sure as she ages and begins to actually understand what she’s looking at and hearing, she will still like it, because the fantastical creatures that are depicted make it fun, and a little bit silly too. So far, I find a book that grows with your child is the best kind to have, because it makes the purchase worthwhile, and sure to become a story they remember up through adulthood too.