Neil Irani (text) & Park Yun (illustrations)
(Maverick Books)

Every morning a little girl looks in the mirror and sees a goblin staring back at her. Shy and frightened of what people might think of her, she hides under a large hat and never interacts with any one. But one dark rainy day, everything changes when her hat is blown away in a gush of wind. The girl runs after it, and soon finds herself lost in the forest. A little boy finds her and not only will he help her find the way out of the forest, but also the path towards happiness, and acceptance.

Park Yun’s stunning artwork is what first attracted me to The Goblin and The Girl. The style is not typical of what one comes across in Britain usually and more something that one would find readily on the continent.

The artwork brings a sense of melancholy to the story, as well as a certain softness and warmth. The colour scheme is beautiful, recalling the colours of the forest throughout.

The Goblin and The Girl is a very potent story about lack of self-esteem and self-confidence and how it affects children. In a society when image seems so important and where this is conveyed constantly to children through the media and fashion, many girls feel physically inadequate from a very early age, and this is heartbreaking. The girl in the story, whose shyness and lack of confidence prevent her from making friends, finds herself alone and, without support, unable to confront what she sees as her inadequacy. But the encounter with the boy is what will make the difference. Not only is he not repulsed by her, therefore making her doubt that her appearance is as bad as she previously thought, but also he has noticed her at school before, therefore proving to her that she is not invisible to others after all either. This simple act of kindness is a sign of hope for the little girl

The Goblin and The Girl is a subtle and caring tale, and one to be shared widely. Each and every child will know someone who might just need someone to smile at them or say hello. Someone who needs to feel like they belong. For the child who recognises himself within these pages, this book will bring relief that they are not alone and that things might not be as bad as they think. For the adult audience, The Goblin and The Girl should be a gentle reminder that sometimes it is tough being a child and that some children have a much harder time than others.

All illustrations © Park Yun

Many thanks to the good people at Maverick Books for sending me a copy of “The Goblin and The Girl”