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.
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