I was very intrigued when I learned that Lauren Child, Lauren Child, creator of Clarice Bean and the charming Charlie and Lola had written a picture book that she did not also illustrate. Lauren is a wonderful writer and a brilliant illustrator who has a way with collage and adding patterns to her art. In fact, if you know much about fabric design, you'll be impressed to know that Child was commissioned to design Liberty Fabrics a few years ago. If this means nothing to you, follow the link for a peek into her creative process. However, when you read Maude: The Not So Noticeable Shrimpton it makes sense. Trisha Kraus makes her debut as a picture book illustrator (previously, she spent sixteen years in New York working for magazines and advertisers) and her work fits very comfortably with Child's writing. In fact, on first glance, you might even think that Child illustrated this book herself.
Maude: The Not So Noticeable Shrimpton is the story of a wallflower in a family of stand-outs and it is also a cautionary tale.
Each member of the Shrimpton family has something about them that gets them noticed, whether it is flamboyant hats, a long, twirly mustache, beauty of voice, face, or movement, or, as was the case with Wardo, the littlest Shrimpton, a stellar sense of humor. Child writes, "Being noticed was what all the Shrimptons lived for. All except, that is, for Maude."
As Maude's birthday nears, her family asks her what she wants. They being the Shrimptons and Maude being Maude, of course the either don't hear her or choose to ignore her when she says she wants something as inconspicuous and bland as a goldfish for a present.
Being the Shrimptons, they get her a different birthday gift instead. And, when this new pet gets hungry, the cautionary tale kicks in, the book ending with these words,
Sometimes, just sometimes, not being noticeable is the very best talent of all.
A little bit more Maude...
Source: Review Copy