Mini Grey
(Jonathan Cape)

Dog, Mouse and Cat live in a little cabin by the sea in perfect unison. Each member of the household has its own chores which they do in their own rather unusual way. They look happy … but are they really? Because one day a stranger appears from the Wind of Change Company and seem to be set on installing chaos in the happy home. It is with little effort that he manages to set each friends against the others. Roles and friendships are being reassessed, but when tragedy is about to strike, is it too late for Dog, Mouse and Cat to salvage their friendship?

The publication of a new Mini Grey book is always cause for celebration in our house. My son particularly is a fan of Traction Man and Jim (see my review here), but I love all of her work. Mini Grey’s style is so distinctive; it is vibrant, quirky and modern and yet it is timeless in the way that she can touch on any era (The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon with the Prohibition, and Jim with the early twentieth-century) and make it her own This new story is particularly intriguing; the fox (always a shifty character in books) comes from nowhere, and we are not sure what his motives are. He seems set on driving the friends apart, and yet each time seems to also find a way to draw them closer. This can be quite confusing at first, especially for a younger audience. It seems impossible to begin with to decipher whether he is in fact a goody or a baddy. But I think that actually it doesn’t matter; it is not really important where he comes from, why he is here and why he suddenly disappears as if his work there is done. The lessons learnt from the three friends is what will surely stand out the most for the young readers: that strength of friendship is found in making concessions and not only recognising your own weaknesses but also your strengths in yourself and your friends. The fox is only a secondary character, setting the scene for Dog, Mouse and Cat to realise what they mean to each other, and to accept that it is never good to take people for granted. Their eccentricity and antics in the house only make them more loveable.

There is quite lot of text, and the illustrations are full of quirky details and for this reason it is best suited for slightly older readers, especially as a younger audience might not get the subtelities of this particular story, and specifically Fox’s antics and his motivation.  But any Mini Grey book is a feast for the eyes so I am sure younger readers will enjoy it too.

Mini Grey always manages to surprise and delight me with every new book; this one comes highly recommended of course, and if you have not come across Mini Grey’s work yet, go and remedy to that right now!

Sent for review by the publisher