Nibbles: The Book Monster
Nibbles: The Book Monster
Nibbles likes to nibble soap, and Nibbles nibbles socks. Nibbles chomps on rubber ducks, and Nibbles munches clocks. Nibbles loves to nibble toes, and Nibbles nibbles hooks. But Nibbles’ favourite thing of all to nibble on is……books!
Oh no! Where’s Nibbles? He’s nibbled his way out of this book!
Nibbles is a tiny, yellow book-eating monster that wreaks havoc wherever he goes. In Nibbles: The Book Monster, Nibbles nibbles his way into three fairytales, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, “Little Red Riding Hood”, and “Jack and the Beanstalk”. These fairytales are actually books within a book, but the tales, themselves, are not presented in their entirety, just small snippets, and, therefore, require of the reader previous knowledge of the fairytales in terms of characters, events and sequence. When the three bears come home to find their house in shambles, Goldilocks rightfully blames Nibbles, but the little imp has already escaped and moved onto his next adventure in which he intercepts Little Red Riding Hood on her way to her grandma’s cottage. After he releases Grandma from the locked cupboard and helps the wolf to discover his “fluffy side” (how he does this is never revealed), Nibbles is off again, this time to steal the golden goose from Mr. Giant. The goose drops Nibbles back into his own story, but even though Nibbles is safely ensconced in his crate, the talented escape artist does it again, leaving a note that simply states, “Gone nibbling.”
Young children will enjoy the interactive aspect of this book – flaps to lift and the smaller fairytale books within its pages – as well as the antics of Nibbles, who, though a monster, is actually quite cute and not scary at all. But the story has no real plot, merely a chase through books, complete with die-cut “bite” holes where Nibbles chomps through the pages, and, with the exception of his naughtiness, Nibbles displays no character traits, thus making him not particularly relatable nor even likeable. Since the story is so focused on the chase, readers will not even notice that there is little content. Some of the subtleties, such as the anagrams of Emma Yarlett’s name, will be lost on such a young audience, and a few background details in the illustrations, such as a library due date card, will have no meaning.
Yarlett begins the story with a poem but then switches to prose. Speech bubbles indicate when a character is speaking, but this usage is inconsistent. Illustrations are cartoonlike and rendered mainly in deep golds, greens and browns. One concern is that the flaps and smaller books will not withstand repeated use with multiple borrowers in a public library setting.
Generally speaking, Nibbles: The Book Monster (and its main character) has potential, but somehow the adventures fall flat.
Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, Manitoba.