Children’s Book Review: The Squickerwonkers by Evangeline Lilly, illustrated by Johnny Fraser-Allen

When I saw that Evangeline Lilly was writing a book, I got pretty excited. I loved her in Lost (my favorite TV show) and The Hobbit movies. The summary of The Squickerwonkers was full of delicious made up words, mischief, and marionettes. What’s not to like? I ordered it for my library, and then checked it out before anyone else could. Whoops.

The Squickerwonkers, Volume 1Selma of the Rin-Run Royals is a clever, but very spoiled little girl who finds herself at a marionette show – The Squickerwonker show – full of interesting characters, including Greer the Greedy (a kleptomaniac who hides her treasure in her hair), Andy the Arrogant (a gorgeous man who’s dumb as a brick), and Gillis the Gluttonous (with “a body of doughnuts and pie.” Haha!). Selma throws a tantrum when one of the Squickerwonkers pops her balloon, and what follows is definitely not what Selma bargained for.

This is not a book for a very young child, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful. I’d recommend this to somewhat older children (maybe 6 and up or so), who’ll be able to understand what a horrible little girl Selma is. Younger children might get scared at the illustrations. It’s a book perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman. Personally, I love that the story is creepy and dark and I think kids will appreciate it too.

I enjoyed the story, but the illustrations were what sold me. They are imaginative, colorful (but colored in dark hues, like browns, reds, greens, and purples), detailed, and strange painted illustrations. Fraser-Allen has worked on Stephen Spielberg’s Tintin and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit Trilogy, which goes to show how talented he is. The book is imaginative and wonderfully illustrated; it is certainly different from a lot of picture books these days, but in the best way. I’ll be looking forward to the sequel.

Publication info:

The Squickerwonkers
Written by Evangeline Lilly; illustrated by Johnny Fraser-Allen
Published by Titan Books; November 18, 2014
32 pages (hardcover)

Waiting on Wednesday: The Squickerwonkers, Volume 1

The Squickerwonkers, Volume 1Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Publisher: Titan Books

Author: Evangeline Lilly, illustrated by Johnny Fraser-Allen

Release date: November 18, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Meet Selma of the Rin-Run Royals, a clever little girl who is spoiled to the core. One day Selma stumbles upon a band of colorful marionettes, and gets more than she bargained for. The remarkable Squickerwonkers of the fabulous Squickershow are about to teach Selma that she’ll not always get her way.

Evangeline Lilly is best known for her work as an actress, but her foremost passion has always been writing. This book is her first published work. Beautifully illustrated by Johnny Fraser-Allen, this eccentric and visually stunning cautionary tale will appeal to adults and children alike.

Why I’m excited: I am always a little hesitant about celebrity books because there have been too many times when they just fell flat. But I LOVE Evangeline Lilly, and I will try anything she’s involved in. Also, “Squickerwonkers”? That just sounds like a cute children’s book, doesn’t it? It’s one of those words that is just fun to say and that kids will eat up. I read an interview with Lilly in which she detailed what the whole series will be about, and it just screams fun and interesting. I also like that she’s had the idea for this since she was a kid. She’s obviously passionate about the project. Definitely looking forward to this one.