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.
Illustration EN: Cale Atkinson
Tundra Books, Penguin Random House of Canada
ISBN 13: 978-1-77049-809-9
Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library. Her reviews have appeared in Quill and Quire, School Library Journal and CM: Canadian Review of Materials. When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.
The National Reading Campaign publishes children's book reviews under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.