It is the spooky season and the monsters, fairies, mermaids, dinosaurs and other interesting creatures have invited me to begin an adventure, to find a secret map and explore a world, only I can. This winter I have this adorable poetry collection written and illustrated by Hilda Offen called How Many Points for a Panda?
Lo and behold! The poems begin with monsters and magic and Marie the Monster appears just to trifle with her brother before she turns back into her human form! Then we step into the magical glittery shoes of Libby Lou and reach the wild beast Buzzaboo! But what does he do? Well, if you say 'Boo!' to a wild Buzzaboo, he'd throw custard at you! From land monsters, we move to the sea with its gigantic whales and all engulfing sea mists and up we go into the air high with Icarus the Proud to dive into the ocean to Mermaids and sea monsters-
"The water's clear, the water's cool;
I dive into the glassy pool…
Where jewel-encrusted monsters haunt
The coral caves and mermaids flaunt
Their rainbow tails…"
The book contains poems on curious creations of our weird and artsy thoughts, interjecting reality. The world of imagination which exists with our mundane plane creates magical universes and that's what the poet emphasises-
"No-one knows what I see
Through my aunt's window-pane;
I can shatter the world -
Then build it up all again."
This wonderful book includes stories from myths, folk tales, fairy tales and modern lives. Divided into sections titled Monsters and Magic; Secrets and Shadows; Talking and Squawking and Here There and Everywhere; the rhymes are written in a language easy to grasp with themes of social etiquettes, family life, imagination, facing bullies, and the creation of a hyggelig safe space.
Here, kids get to learn the name of clouds, the beauty of a midsummer day, history, scrying, visiting old castles and discovering so much that nature can offer and the mind can experience and that's why the little boy doesn't simply look beyond his glass window, but affirms his magic -
"And no-one suspects
The power of my glance.
It's magic! I'm making
The Church Steeple dance."
The illustrations and words complement each other and help in invoking the unimaginable and fantastical. One can gift it to little ones to encourage imagination and creativity or to just read, to revel in a world conjured by the creative creatures in it.