Review Blog

Sep 01 2016

Nothing! by Yasmeen Ismail

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408873366
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Imagination. When Lila is asked a question about what she is doing, she replies 'Nothing!' twirling a piece of paper, or eating a crumbly biscuit, but the illustrations belie what she has said. Turning the page we see the wildest of images, as she turns the thing she is playing with into the most imaginative of quests, facing a fearsome beastie, tumbling over an elephant's back in a circus or climbing the Eiffel Tower with a young girl in her arms. Each image is extreme in its depiction as she conquers one thing after another, finally meeting her grandfather and telling him about the wonderful adventures she has been having and inviting him along. And just like all good grandpas, he follows her into one of her adventures.
A delightful story of imagination and adventure, Lila does things that are out of the ordinary, turning small things into brave adventures, risking life and limb to take more risks, taking a road into uncertainty. With bright, swirling illustrations to attract the reader, Lila's story is a wonderful homage to imagination and taking a risk, even if only in thought. Turning the ordinary into something fabulous, the little mundane things into tall towers and circus animals, all are designed to capture a reader's imagination. The water colour swirls are wonderful, capturing Lila's excitement as she lets her imagination soar.
Fran Knight

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