A Children’s Book of Demons
A Children’s Book of Demons
Warning: this demon is a very foul fellow!
With an appetite for beans and cauliflower, Flatulus is famous for his non-stop farting and awful odours. As you might suspect, he doesn’t have a lot of friends.
Why would such a stinky spirit be useful? If you need to avoid detection or throw someone off your trail, Flatulus will unleash an eye-watering fart cloud that will offend even the strongest nose. This will provide a chance to escape, although you might want to have a gas mask on hand to make sure you don’t pass out.
His sigil should be drawn in poo brown, obviously.
In the world of adults, demons are usually viewed negatively, but this volume is, as the title indicates, a children’s book of demons, and the cover illustration of a demonic figure wearing a beanie with a propellor atop it suggests that the demons to be found inside won’t be like those that bedevil humans. However, despite the cover’s lightheartedness, Leighton seemingly starts on a serious note in his “Introduction”:
These pages contain an unruly bunch of spirits who are not company for the faint of heart, as they love nothing more than mayhem and mischief. However, with a few tips and a little bravery, you can turn these unholy troublemakers into potential allies who can solve your most serious problems. But before you go playing with fire, there are a few things you should probably keep in mind.
He then goes on to explain what demons are and how to call and dismiss them, with the calling requiring the caller to draw the demon’s “sigil, a magical symbol representing the letters of the demon’s name....As you draw the sigil on paper, loudly say the demon’s name and command it to appear and do your bidding.” Demons are dismissed by the caller thanking the demon for its service and then ripping the demon’s sigil in half. Leighton closes his introduction with five rules that govern dealing with demons.
Any lingering concern that Leighton is leading children down an occult path will be dispelled as soon as readers meet the book’s first demon, Borborigma. What youngster hasn’t, at one time or another, grumbled about taking out the garbage or resisted eating the last bits on her/his plate? Calling Borborigma would solve the problem as this demon “is a repulsive spirit who will happily devour all sorts of disgusting foods, table scraps.” Leighton offers a word of caution regarding Borborigma as his tastes are not limited to the gross, and he “will also eat food you do like, as well as your plate and cutlery, so watch out.”
Beginning with Borborigma, Leighton then alphabetically introduces young readers to a total of 20 demons, concluding with Zervos who evidently loves to do chores and errands for whoever calls him. Each demon is treated via a pair of facing pages, with one page carrying the text and the other Leighton’s artistic representation of what the demon would look like – if you were able to see it. Being bullied? Pugni can be your personal demon bodyguard. Don’t like PE class or playing sports? Jokko, a sports-obsessed demon, will happily take your place. Left completing that school project until the very last minute? Eruditi adores homework and constructing dioramas. Whatever a child’s “need”, Leighton suggests there is a demon on call.
Though A Children’s Book of Demons is not an essential purchase, this fun, imaginative read could be used as a stimulus in a combined language arts and art class in which students are invited to invent and illustrate their own demons for situations and problems that Leighton hasn’t identified, such as how to talk comfortably to members of the opposite sex. Resorting to calling Hypnos is not a satisfactory response.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.