Nibbles the Book Monster, in my house at least, has managed to achieve something quite spectacularly tricky. It appealed to and delighted both my youngest boy, who is a solid super-hero-loving-three-year-old and my oldest girl, who is five-turning-six-quite-soon-my-goodness-where-do-all-the-years-go?
Now, that might not sound all that much. There is, after all, only a couple of years between them. But the truth is that these days their literary tastes rarely converge. Bedtime used to be a wonderful, wriggling pile of a half-dozen elbows, arms and legs, as one parent lay in the middle while each child gazed upon a favourite picture book. Chaotic and far from comfortable, but fun.
But now, my eldest (my-goodness-where-do-all-the-years-go!) often prefers to read Flat Stanley on her own. On occasion, she takes herself off all together for what she calls ‘private time’ which, from what I can gather, involves marshalling her teddies and giving them some quite severe orders about lining up and sitting nicely.
I thought those shared bedtime moments had passed. But Nibbles the Book Monster, I’m very happy to say, has brought us all back together, elbows and all.
Nibbles is an inventive and playful story with lots of bookish references to delight the reader. It starts with a nod to Dear Zoo, as Nibbles is trapped behind a lift-the-flap cage, and continues as Nibbles eats his way out of his own book, through the page and into a stack of other books. The books fill a double-spread and my eldest loved spotting books she knew and, in another nod this time to Where’s Wally?, my youngest giggled as he looked for Nibbles who was found diving underneath a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
From then on, Nibbles – drawn as a cheeky and bold little yellow devil – munches through different fairy tales, disrupting the stories as he goes and each time chomping a hole in to the next page and diving through.
The production of the book is as good as it gets. The mustard-coloured cover draws you towards it and the inside pages are brilliantly inventive as each new book is revealed within the book. Much thought and much effort went into making this. Hats off to the author, Emma Yarlett, and all those involved.
Nibbles the Book Monster is very easy to recommend, what’s not to like? If you love books, then how can you not love a book about books? Particularly one that brought this family back together for a bedtime read.
Take a bite, book lovers!