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Varmints (2009)

Varmints: The design and layout of this book immediately make the reader curious. Who is this creature staring straight at you on the cover? A dictionary definition of "var+mint" is on the opening page and then you turn to the first illustration of bees flying over rustling grass beneath a vast skyscape and a text which begins in the picture and then runs along the bottom of the page. “There was once only the sound of bees and the wind in the wiry grass, the low murmuring of moles in the cool dark earth…” But there are changes afoot and, as other inhabitants come, and “tall buildings scratched the sky where the birds once sang”, there is a loss of the quietness – peace is drowned out by noise. Helen Ward’s economy of language, together with the dramatic images of Mark Craste combine to make this a very imaginative and thought provoking story which will certainly stimulate children in key stage 2.
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