BLABEY, Aaron Noah Dreary Viking, 2013 unpaged $24.99 ISBN 9780670077182 SCIS 1620544
‘One day, Noah Dreary complained so much his head fell off,’ is the absurd but highly captivating opening line of this funny and engaging picture book. Noah has to learn to accept life without constantly complaining about trivial matters and his journey from being a whinger to a happy and useful member of society is a cautionary tale done with lightheartedness and humour.
The text is sparse with occasional changes of font and type size adding emphasis where appropriate but it is the unusual and quirky illustrations that complement and complete the story. There are multiple panels on some pages often framed as individual pictures which create a sense of the reader viewing snapshots from Noah’s life story. While there are many close-ups of Noah’s head, there is little sense of horror that would frighten most young readers as the whole bizarre tale has a fairytale quality cleverly engendered by the lively illustrations and happy ending.
Noah Dreary is an enjoyable, if slightly off beat, picture book with important themes about gratitude, love and positive attitudes to life. It will be enjoyed by pre-school and lower primary readers. JN