Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: If I Had a Gryphon

Publish May 25, 2016

Vikki VanSickle’s first picture book, If I Had a Gryphon, features the imaginative musings of a disgruntled pet owner.  Sam thinks her snoozing, drooling hamster is pretty humdrum.  While poring over a book of mythological creatures, the young gal fantasizes about an exciting life as caretaker to exotic animals.  She longs for a lavender unicorn that would idyllically “prance through fields of posies” on tinkling silver horseshoes.  Who could resist the unique charms of a burly sasquatch, or a blue-feathered hippogriff?  Upon further reflection, however, Sam considers some potential pitfalls in her fantasies:  unicorns are notoriously shy, sasquatches have snarled fur that needs to be constantly combed, and hippogriffs scare all the dogs at the park.  In a sweet ending, Sam realizes her perfect pet has been beside her all the time. Cale Atkinson’s quirky artwork brings to life a menagerie of beasts.  Rendered in “photoshop, fairy dust and phoenix ash,” the illustrations show a sneezing dragon wreaking havoc throughout the house, bathtub bathing mermaids, and screeching harpies.  The final cheeky image hints that Sam’s hamster also possesses some unexpected attributes. Vikki Van Sickle’s bouncy, rhyming verse begs to be read aloud.  With its funny and offbeat humour, If I Had a Gryphon is the perfect choice for readers yearning for a furry or fantasy pet of their own.

If I Had a Gryphon

Vikki VanSickle
Illustration EN: Cale Atkinson
Tundra Books, Penguin Random House of Canada
ISBN 13: 978-1-77049-809-9

Linda Ludke
Linda Ludke

Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library.  Her reviews have appeared in Quill and QuireSchool Library Journal and CM:  Canadian Review of Materials.  When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.

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