B.C.R Fegan (text), Lenny Wen (illus.), Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32, Taleblade, 14 March 2018, 36pp., $25.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9780648101918
In the Hotel of Hoo, the host, Mr Nicholas Noo, welcomes his two young guests, inviting them to explore his hotel but warns them ‘Don’t ever look behind door 32.’ As the children move through each room, numbered one to 32, they encounter a variety of wonderful, magical and mythical creatures. The warning about door 32 is repeated throughout the book in different ways, which builds mystery and intrigue. When they finally reach door number 32, will they go in? And what is behind door number 32?
This book is great fun. The illustrations depict wonderful creatures and hint at their devilish deeds. There is a lack of cohesiveness in the style of the drawings on each page that really seems to work to add interest. Some illustrations look like stills from a 3D animated kids movie, other pictures have a more flat and muted tone. It is the sort of book that kids will enjoy looking at on their own, marvelling at the pictures, as well as having it read to them.
The text is all in rhyming couplets but the variety in the language and rhythm means it doesn’t become too tedious to read. It is a counting book of sorts, however the interest is not in the numbers, but in the pictures and the stories behind them. Recommended for children 3-6 years old.
Reviewed by Rebecca Blakeney