Litercurious Book Review
INCLUDING 5 MORE FREE TO READ KINDLE UNLIMITED BOOKS
|Title||Anthony and the Gargoyle|
|Author||Jo Ellen Bogart|
|Publisher||Groundwood Books (October 5, 2021)|
|Genre||Children’s European Books, Children’s |
Friendship Books, Children’s Fantasy &
|ISBN /ASIN #||978-1773063447 / B0937KDQJH|
#Children’s European Books #Children’s Friendship Books #Children’s Fantasy & Magic Books
Jo Ellen Bogart studied education and psychology at the University of Texas, Austin.
Anthony and the Gargoyle by Jo Ellen Bogart and illustrated by Maja Kastelic, is a revelation. The story begins with the enigmatic image of a small house with a tiny garden in a semi-rural setting; and just like that the scene is set for Anthony’s adventure. The story revolves around the friendship between a young boy, Anthony, and a recently hatched Gargoyle.
We quickly learn that Anthony is part of a traditional French family unit consisting of his Mother (Mère), Father (Père) and Anthony (Antoine). His home environment is comfortable without being extravagant. Going to bed one night his favorite rock metamorphosis’s into something rare. On waking he discovers a surprise that leads him into a close relationship with his new-found friend. Recognizing that his new pal is different from him, Anthony questions his mother in order to better understand his bon ami. An unexpected phone call requires his mother to go to Paris. She takes Anthony and the Gargoyle with her. What follows is a journey of discovery for both Anthony and his Gargoyle. Anthony experiences love, loss and mortality. The Journey is tinged with both happiness and sadness; with new beginnings and endings.
Bogart’s work relies heavily on the graphics of Kastelic and together they have managed to infuse what could have been an average children’s book into a sparkling gem. Anthony and the Gargoyle exudes warmth and magic previously only seen in works of great authors such as Lewis Carroll. Whilst the styles are diametrically opposed, they both share the ability to tell a captivating story and include illustrations as a central part of the process.
The illustrational nature of the book is compelling from the outset. The plates are so finely sculpted that they capture the natural inclination of the child to continue exploring until the end. In this kind of word-free novel the synergy between the writer and the illustrator are crucial and Bogart and Kastelic together have created a rare synergy here. Nothing less than a literal feast for the child’s eye and mind. The pictorialization is exquisite throughout and the force of Bogarts illustrated narrative are enhanced through the symbiosis of their collaboration. The quality of their mutual creativity and the visualization of their work stands alone and speaks for itself.
The story seems to be inspired by an allegoric theme, that is to say in the style of a morality play. The absence of text frees the child from the encumbrances of reading whilst enhancing the child’s ability to stretch their comprehension and their imagination simultaneously. Additionally the concepts of love, responsibility, and mortality are all covered providing a realistic view on life and its challenges.
The work may be especially valuable to challenged children and their guardians. Children who find communication difficult could benefit greatly from the lack the print in this wordless novel.
Bogart’s story is recommended for ages 6-9 years but it could easily be enjoyed by younger or older children. It would not be hard to imagine that Anthony and the Gargoyle could easily become a favorite of any child.
I would like to thank Jo Ellen Bogart, NetGalley, and Groundwood Books (October 5, 2021) for affording me the opportunity to review Anthony and the Gargoyle.