Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
What is under the bed, who really hides away with their fur showing and a pair of eyes looking out from in between the crack in the closet and what really lives in the fertile imagination of a child; monsters are real, parent’s reactions to them are unfeigned and yet for one small boy, monsters are the finest things in the world; they also deserve love and respect.
B.B. Taylor’s Murphy and The Monsters is an explosion of colour and deep thought all wrapped up in a wonderful children’s tale; a tale in which the monsters are there to be loved.
In the world of literature some books will always hold more detail, especially in the stories that children will no doubt pour over, as a parent or a reader one does not have to look too far to understand why the illustrations have added so much colour, so much depth to an already enlightened and charming collection or series of books. In this case the work of Holly Bushnell captures the eye and gives Ms. Taylor’s work an edge of allure, the furthering of the imagination that really comes across with each word put down on the page.
It is the hand in hand approach, one existing, as all good monster do, in tandem with another, for nobody wants to think of any monster under the bed or hiding in the attic as being lonely, they must always be seen as having somebody to care for them and the same must be in the world of children’s literature. Nobody remembers fully a story without an aid, something to draw upon, in the same way that older children of a certain period would have had the illustrations of the fantastic Pauline Baynes to guide them through the world of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia or Sir John Tenniel offering insight and humanity into the stories of Alice by Lewis Carroll, so too does the work of Holly Bushnell give just that extra moment of security in the young reader’s mind that the world makes sense.
For Ms. Taylor, this is a spellbinding piece of art, of words that flow and asks the crucial question in a young reader’s mind of what exactly is a monster, the purpose of them being in a book for children. Monsters teach children that not everything they will see in the world is warm and friendly, what B.B. Taylor conveys in Murphy and The Monsters is instead, to look beyond the expectations of those who believe you should be one thing but instead to be your own and honest image; that to take one person’s view without investigating the facts is as bad as denying someone the right to human.
A clever and delightful book, Murphy and The Monsters is full of vivid colour and a story that is easily followed, not just for children, it is a book that adds texture to bed time and one that is enjoyable as well as asking a relevant question; a special treat.
Ian D. Hall