Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.
"After the heat of the day it was wonderful on the stream. You must remember that the time the gnomes had picked for their journey was the best of the whole year; May and June in the heart of England, given the right weather, are our finest months. And you must not imagine that the gnomes were blind to these beauties - indeed, being halfway between the animals and our unhappy selves, they appreciated the beauties of the world far more than a great many mortals."
Set amidst the rural English countryside and depicted through the four changing seasons, The Little Grey Men explores the plight of the last four remaining gnomes Dodder, Sneezewort, Baldmoney and Cloudberry. The latter gnome is less content with his pastoral lifestyle beside the brook, fishing for minnow and harvesting the fruits of the land. Increasingly agitated, he sets out for adventure, but when he does not return his friends are faced with a difficult decision and resolve to mount an expedition to locate his whereabouts.
Readers are offered a worms-eye view of the natural world around them and some of the challenges facing the environment. The fantasy draws upon the realities of the natural world which is showcased with irresistible verve and vibrancy. It is easy to become swept along by the adventure of the crew of three when onboard the Jeanie Deans, a toy boat comandeered by the gnomes and captained down stream on their voyage. Teeming with life, brimming with naturalist knowledge, this is an eye-opening, innocent story but one told with zeal and real storytellers art and intrigue.
The bounty of nature, but the harshness of times when produce is less frugal showcase the extremes of the natural world. Presented throughout the book is a realistic, unsentimental view of the environment and the impact its shifts and stages has upon the lifestyle of the gnomes. Ideal for sharing, this makes a great bedtime read as the adventure translates particularly well to episodic installments.