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Five Little Fiends Hardcover – May 3, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

On a lovely plain far away sit five statues, each with a squat red fiend who lives inside. The fiends marvel at the world outside their stony encasements: the beautiful sky, the land, the sea, the sun, and the moon. So one day they decide to squirrel away their favorite pieces of the universe inside their statues. Sure, it is fun at first, but they soon realize that their prizes, once isolated, just aren't the same--the sun can't stay up without the sky, the sky is invisible without the land, the sea can't flow without the pull of the moon... In the end, they put their fiendy heads together and decide to put everything back. Sarah Dyer's simple story about appreciating the universe and its harmonious web was first published in England and awarded the Bronze Medal in the 2001 Smarties Book Prize. Youngsters will love the idea of these Maurice Sendak-style monsters living inside the rocks, and Dyer's gorgeous cross-section glimpses are perfectly enchanting. Her depictions of a fiend rolling up the sky like a piece of paper or catching the moon in a big butterfly net are wonderfully clever and sure to charm both children and adults alike. A future classic, perhaps? (Ages 2 to 5) --Karin Snelson

From Publishers Weekly

In this poetic book from a British newcomer, five acquisitive imps express their love of nature by hoarding the one thing they liked best about the world. One tugs at the orange disc of the sun, another tears the sky like a long piece of paper and the others take the land, moon and sea. With their prizes, they adjourn to their private dwellings, a quintet of hollow, Stonehenge-like sculptures. Only then do they notice that the sea could not flow without the pull of the moon, and the moon could not glow without the light of the sun. They restore everything to its place, and a closing picture shows them standing hand in hand (or claw in claw), where before they stood in an unjoined row. In unadorned sentences and vast minimalist landscapes of stormy gray, wheat yellow and negative white space, Dyer shows that the fiends and their favorite phenomena are interdependent. The short, squat fiends have the ferrous-red skin of devils, but they don't act maliciously; they realize the impact of their selfishness and reestablish harmony. The wordless closing image of a lone fiend running off, clasping a plate-shaped item, suggests that wholehearted optimism is premature, but doesn't quash the hopefulness of the narrative. Ages 4-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (May 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582347514
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582347516
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 11.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,403,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on July 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"On a faraway plain stood five lonely statues. Inside each statue lived a little fiend. Every day they would come outside to marvel at their surroundings..." One day, they decided to take that part of the world each liked best, to keep inside their statue and enjoy as their own. One little fiend took the sun, another the sky, the third took the land, the fourth, the sea, and the last little fiend took the moon he so admired. But they soon came to realize that the sun need the sky to stay up, and the sky needed the land. The land died without the water from the sea, the sea needed the moon to flow, and the moon couldn't glow without the light from the sun. So they unselfishly put each part back where it belonged, "...and once again marvel at their surroundings." Sarah Dyer's simple, spare, and poetic text, with its gentle message of sharing and appreciation for the world around us, is complemented by her expressive, bold and colorful illustrations. Together word and art offer a gentle and evocative lesson about interdependence, harmony, and balance that won't be lost on young children. Perfect for youngsters 4-8, Five Little Fiends is a clever and engaging story that is sure to become a family favorite at your house.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amelia Dyckman on May 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
We (me, Husband Guy, 29-month-old Booger Eater, and the two Tuna Breaths) just got this book, and it's fantastic! The good-stuff messages of sharing, cooperation, and appreciation of nature are presented without the usual lecture, the flow of the book as a whole is perfect and satisfying, the artwork is superb, and the pictures of the fiends themselves are thoroughly charming. (Amusing to us all--the fiends have NIPPLES! Not often found in children's books, and far too lacking--we all got 'em! Kudos for the nipple inclusion!) Moreover, the Tuna Breaths find the hardcover edition quite pleasing to chin-rub on. An immediate, unanimous favorite! Ms. Dyer, more like this, please!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Salami on June 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a mother, I like this book very much. It illustrated the importance of sharing and appreciation of the grestest wonders around us. In additional to the interdependence of each wonder, how do they harmonize in reality.

I applied it to our family when reading to my son who is under 3. He could easily understand how our different roles in the family. I wish him to learn sharing and appreciatation not only the wonders but also everything surrounded us.
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