Reviewed by Karl Andy Foster
Fin is a forgetful boy, if you give him three things to do, he will forget all of them!
He just can’t help it, his memory is as unruly as his mop of bright red hair. However, with a nod to 1950’s Sci-fi classics he is destined to change the world. One night Fin remembers do everything the correct way before his bedtime, but alas he forgets one very important thing!
There is a mischievous thread running throughout the plot that will entertain and encourage young readers to compare the contents of each spread. The endpapers are linked to the narrative timeframe, depicting a collection of photos that record before and after the main events of the story.
Adam Stower’s illustrations display beautiful, expressive brushstrokes that play with texture and line in a loose and playful manner. This is a freely expressed book with a story that encourages speculation but also happy resolutions. This highly detailed story is alive with energized characters. We are convinced by this strange new world and as we follow Fin, we can’t help but identify with his challenges.
The spreads show how a watery world is balanced by an air world where everything is supposed to be in its place. Spreads of note for me are:
When the fish go out on the town to enjoy the entertainments that are finally available to them.
When Fin is confronted by the Bird Queen, we see a scene that is multi-layered and complex, where Stower controls the chaos by arranging all the elements as a harmonious collection. It shows the displaced alongside the much-aggrieved birds. At the top of the ocean, it is reminiscent of a busy port while underwater all seems tranquil.
Finally, the deputations from the water world and the air world had me chuckling - these emissaries reminded me of countless comedy moments from my childhood. Yes, these visitors were most certainly not the milkman!
This picture book has made me laugh more than any other I’ve read recently. The humour is subtle not raucous, but it made me titter due to its free writing style and the range of expressions from the many characters who are all having fun.
If there is a message in this book then it is this: You might make mistakes due to inattention, but you don’t have to let your mistakes define who you are. You must instead take a deep breath and carry on! So, get ready for a hilarious adventure and remember to bring your waterwings with you!
Written & illustrated by Adam Stower
ISBN: 978 178344 654 4 Published by Andersen Press