Quirky, original and expertly crafted The Grimstones is just the sort of book that My Book Corner adores. A gothic fairy story which is gentle and heart warming with a sprinkling of magic. The Grimstones is told by the spirited and inquisitive character, Martha.
The Grimstones originally began as a puppet show - infact these theatrical productions have (and still are) touring Australia and overseas. As a result the engaging text is interweaved with the most amazing images of the puppets and the miniature world they inhabit.
This book is a diary written by young Martha Grimstone on a quest to find out what will eventually make her Lady Martha the Magnificent. Martha introduces us to the quirky inhabitants of her house. Her Mama the seamstress, who cries rivers of tears over the death of her husband, Grandpa Grimstone whose work in the apothecary downstairs fills Martha with curiosity and longing, and finally Aunt Gertrude who "pierces me with her sharp blue eyes."
The imaginative way in which this great story is pulled together will have you hooked from the moment you open the first page. Asyphixa keeps true to the diary format - Martha's hand drawn images are 'taped' on to her diary pages, photos pinned on with photo corners - thus she shapes a visual delight filled with creativity.
The appeal of The Grimstone does not lie solely in its visual appeal. This is an expertly crafted novel, with an original and intriguing plot focusing on Martha's creation in Grandpa Grimstone's apothecary. The language is delicate and descriptive, accurately capturing the character of Martha and her observations of those around her. With her thoughts and feeling laid open, Martha quickly becomes a character to adore.
I love the endnotes in which Asyphixa talks directly to her young audience letting them in to the creative process behind The Grimstones,
"The Grimstones started in my imagination: a gothic family of puppets that would be magnificently quirky."
Asphyxia herself is a talented and creative individual with a past history as a ballerina, circus performer, a puppeteer and now a creator of theatrical productions ... plus we are thinking author can now be added to that list! With her puppet shows carefully integrating Auslan their visual appeal is not to be underestimated - check out that you-tube clip!
My Book Corner is also very excited that April 2012 saw the release of the second book in this series ... Mortimer Revealed.