The Smeds and the Smoos

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Julia Donaldson (text) and Axel Scheffler (illustrator) The Smeds and The Smoos, Scholastic Books,  October 2019, 32pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN  9781407188898 

From the European creators of the world’s best-loved stories (The Gruffalo published in more languages than Harry Potter), comes a timely tale of young love overcoming racial intolerance. A blue Smoo and a red Smed tire of their families’ narrow habits and, against all warnings, strike up a friendship. When they elope into space the other Smoos and Smeds join forces to track them down and barriers start to come down. Delightfully funny, Donaldson, masterful as ever in her command of rhythm and rhyme, swings us through fantastical phrases that pay a very modern tribute to Lewis Carrol and Edward Lear. ‘By a loobular lake on a far-off planet There lived a young Smed, and her name was Janet.’

Scheffler’s joyful colour splashes onto every spread incidentally teaching the reader theories of spectrum mixing and complimentary contrasts as the story unfolds. His visual side stories will keep readers absorbed and an animation will most likely follow. A masterpiece, a classic, a delight to read out loud and to pour over again and again. 

Reviewed by Liz Anelli 

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