In The Attic by Hiawyn Oram and Satoshi Kitamura

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In The Attic by Hiawyn Oram and Satoshi Kitamura
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Genre: For Sharing
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A bored child climbs into the attic and into his imagination. He goes on a series of adventures that will appeal to young children. There are hints of an outright classic, but In The Attic falls slightly short of that. Worth a look.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: July 2011
Publisher: Andersen
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1849392983

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I had a million toys and I was bored, exclaims the unnamed protagonist of In The Attic. Rather than moaning about his boredom, he does something about it, so he climbs into the attic and into his imagination. He finds little creatures, miraculous worlds, an old engine, and a tiger to be his friend. He fills his day with miraculous and dreamy adventures, then heads back home to report back to his mum.

I adore the opening line about a million toys. It's a powerful start, and will ring true with any child or adult. The feeling of boredom when really there's no excuse is a strange one that everyone will have felt at some time or other. As the story progresses, the sparse text allows the illustrations to represent the child's imagination. For the most part it works very well, allowing for discussion between the reader and listener, with plenty of imagination along the way. The text isn't so perfect as to be magically sparse, but the vocabulary is accessible and the pacing is gentle.

Satoshi Kitamura's illustrations tend to be of a really high standard. The first page in particular draws you right in, seeing the young boy sulking amongst a plethora of fantastic toys. I enjoyed the many beautiful landscapes throughout the book, but was less charmed by the creatures. The tiger seems a bit dopey and the mice appear to be in a childish cartoon. There's nothing out and out wrong with them, but for a book whose strength is its capturing of the imagination, they do make it a bit harder to lose yourself completely.

In The Attic has plenty going for it, but there are hints of a book that could have been an outright classic. It will appeal to children and adults alike, and as long as you don't yearn for the book it could have been, you'll enjoy it greatly. Worth a look.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

For other books looking at a child's imagination, check out Not A Box by Antoinette Portis, DogFish by Gillian Shields, Red Ted and the Lost Things by Michael Rosen and Joel Stewart and of course Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

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