The Magic Place
(David Fickling Books)– hardback
Clementine answers to ‘Oiya‘, or ‘Vile little beast’, ‘Ogre‘ or ‘Little monster‘. Her Aunt Vermilia and Uncle Rufus are tyrannical guardians to the child they keep in a ‘dark and dingy cellar’. She cannot remember the outside. However she dreams of ‘The Magic Place‘ she spies when ‘lying on the floor with her head in the fireplace‘.
Uncle Rufus looks like a crocodile. Clementine thinks her Aunt Vermilia looks like a beetle. Their anger is only tempered by counting money and shopping…. shopping. However, most of the time they are angry, directing their fury toward Clementine and Gilbert, the white cat that frequents their narrow, tall house. After a furious incident when Aunt Vermilia expels a blunderbuss about the house, alerting the neighbours and causing a frenzy of damage, Clementine is left alone. She is to clean upstairs, somewhere she has never ventured. What happens when Clementine opens the door at the far end of the landing? Could this lead to ‘The Magic Place’? Might Clementine discover a world outside, Gilbert’s other life, another with sticky-out ears, the sky and stars, the truth about her ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ and a hope?
Chris Wormell has created an exceptional ‘forever’ story book in ‘The Magic Place’. It is lush nostalgic narrative, enriched by his glorious cross-hatched graphic images. His work is reminiscent of Chris Riddell’s, e.g., Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse yet the tones are deeper, empathetic and wonderful. Welcome to Bookwagon.