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Five Little Fiends

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A wonderful, modern tale of sharing and respect which has the resonance and appeal of a classic picture book.A new artist who is bound become a firm favourite with her daring and yet reassuring style

About the Author

Sarah Dyer has recently graduated from Kinsgston College of Art and is now living in Hove, East Sussex. This is Sarah's first book for children.


In this poetic book from a British newcomer, five acquisitive imps express their love of nature by hoarding the one thing they liked best about the world. One tugs at the orange disc of the sun, another tears the sky like a long piece of paper and the others take the land, moon and sea. With their prizes, they adjourn to their private dwellings, a quintet of hollow, Stonehenge-like sculptures. Only then do they notice that the sea could not flow without the pull of the moon, and the moon could not glow without the light of the sun. They restore everything to its place, and a closing picture shows them standing hand in hand (or claw in claw), where before they stood in an unjoined row. In unadorned sentences and vast minimalist landscapes of stormy gray, wheat yellow and negative white space, Dyer shows that the fiends and their favorite phenomena are interdependent. The short, squat fiends have the ferrous-red skin of devils, but they don't act maliciously; they realize the impact of their selfishness and reestablish harmony. The wordless closing image of a lone fiend running off, clasping a plate-shaped item, suggests that wholehearted optimism is premature, but doesn't quash the hopefulness of the narrative. Ages 4-up. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

'A simple message, boldly told, brilliantly designed- you couldn't ask for more from a book than the stunning debut by Sarah Dyer' The Sunday Telegraph 'The five monsters in this inventive and intriguing story will give children lots to think about' 'important messages about sharing and the environment' The Independent

K-Gr 2-Dyer's attempt to send a positive environmental message is not successful. Five small, red fiends living in statues on an empty plain decide to take what they like best about their environment into their homes for their own enjoyment. One takes the sky, another the sun, another the ocean, and so on. Soon, they discover "-the sun could not stay up without the sky, the sky was nowhere to be found without the land, the land started to die without water from the sea," etc. They then put all of their new possessions back where they belong and once again enjoy their surroundings. Dyer uses a palette of earth tones throughout the book, and outlines and details her figures with thin, erratic black lines. The figures are not at all expressive; the slight changes in their demeanor are so minor that they are easily overlooked. This, combined with the sharp angles and unusual shapes of the bodies, makes the creatures unappealing. The size relationships may also confuse readers; at times the fiends are dwarfed by the sun, moon, land, etc. and at other times these previously huge elements are smaller than the characters. The layout of the illustrations and corresponding text is often awkward, varying in placement and order throughout the book. It is unlikely that children will understand or enjoy this story.-Heather E. Miller, Homewood Public Library, AL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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