New books came into the department yesterday so, of course, I sat at the desk and leafed through a few of them. A few caught my attention, but it was David Almond’s Mouse Bird Snake Wolf caught my eye. Now there are a few Almond books on the shelves already, but nothing that ever interested me enough to sneak a peek. So maybe it was Dave McLean’s illustrations that pulled at my attention, but I assure you it was the writing that kept me glued.

Creation myths have always been my favorite topics because it stirs the author’s and reader’s imagination (Atheist note: I just don’t regard them as science). David Almond constructs a beautiful, yet incomplete, world where children’s imagination holds the same power of the slumbering gods, reminding us that we’re all creationists (in the simple sense of imagination, mind you). And like all imagination, we can create the wonderful and awesome and the deeply dark and disturbing. And let us never forget that is us that inspire gods, not the other way around.

And what images spark from Dave McKean’s imagination. His depictions of the world and the creatures created by the children leave the reader enraptured.

This beautiful, yet chilling, book deserves a spot in your children’s bedtime story shelf as it is a delight for both adult and child.

About the book (inside flap):

The gods have created a world—they’ve made mountains, forests, and seas; people and beasts—and now their days are fat with tea and cake, mutual admiration, and long naps in the clouds. But the world has curious gaps in it, and Harry, Sue, and Little Ben set out to fill them. They conjure a mousy thing, a chirpy thing, and a twisty legless thing. As each creature takes its place in the living world, the children’s ideas grow bolder until the power of their visions proves greater and more dangerous than they, or the gods, could ever have imagined. It is possible to unmake what’s been made?

Enter the world as dazzling as it is familiar in an original creation tale conjured by master storyteller David Almond and visionary artist Dave McKean.

Mouse Bird Snake Wolf
by David Almond with illustrations by Dave McKean
Candlewick, 14 May 2013
ISBN: 9780763659127

Mouse Bird Snake Wolf is available in hardcover with a paperback edition released in January 2014. You can pick up a copy at Amazon (Hardback/Paperback) or Barnes and Noble (Hardback).

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