A story about why losing something doesn't mean losing out
We love reading in this house. It's a habit I formed when Little Man was so little, he couldn't even understand words. But we read to him. Picture books at first, then pull-out books and so on.
Now that he is learning to read, we read together. I read to him at bedtime; he reads to me after school. We borrow books from the library and sometimes, I surprise him with books I receive to review – the latest of which was The Goblin's Blue Blanket by Kieron Black.
There are a number of things I like about the book (Little Man loves it too and often asks to read it before bedtime). On one level, it is a simple story about a goblin Ogie who loses his favourite blue blanket, and sets off with his pet cat Gerald to find it. But on a deeper level, we find a poignant and meaningful message.
Set in a goblin village on the fictitious island of Goblinia, the book lends itself to magical realism, which further comes alive with the fabulous graphic-style illustrations. Each page is a further quest for Ogie and Gerald, who set out to find his cherished blue blanket. We meet Ogie's friends and family through the book – each character a testament to the creative imagination of the author and artist-illustrator – and partake in his adventures. There are the Slimewoods and the Goblinian Jam Pits and the Singing Stones of Nottle-Oog; there are goblins and dragon trainers and trolls… but in the end, there is still no blue blanket.
There is a lesson to be learnt: Ogie's mum reminds him that family and friends are to be valued more than material possessions, and as long as you have them, you will be OK! She also teaches Ogie that 'missing something doesn't have to mean missing out' – hadn't he wasted his entire day being sad and searching for his lost blanket, when he could have gone snowboarding with his Grandad or skating with his brother instead?
She cheers Ogie up with another positive message – that if someone does find his lost blanket, it might make them just as happy as it made Ogie. She gave him his old red blanket instead, and he realised that was just as good. The blue blanket was, after all, just an object and could be replaced. But time and family cannot.
(I love stories with a moral – it gives us more to talk about once the book gets over).
The book is meant to be for 3-6 year olds, but I'd say the message will get across better with a 4-5 year old. Nonetheless, it is entertaining even for younger children. It is priced at £6.99 and is available from Shrine Bell publishers.
Disclosure: I was gifted this book for the purpose of this review; however, as always, all opinions are my own.
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