Padding Paws in the Roof – Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Night Wolf by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell reviewed

Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Night Wolf is Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell‘s (Edge Chronicles) new novel and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Barnaby Grimes is a tick tock lad and one of the best in the business. After the death of a friend, Old Benjamin, he is employed by Dr Cadwallader who is friend to the poor. Meanwhile various wolves are being seen around the full moon and somehow the good Doctor is involved.
The story and twist may not come as a surprise to most readers.
The fast-paced writing and illustrations make this book worthwhile and remind the reader of the rich tradition of children’s writing and fine illustrations, for instance Tenniel’s classic Alice drawings.
The way that the city with its dialects and ariel landscape (roofscape?) are put to use are marvellous. There is the sense that these landscapes will always grow and develop as the boundaries are pushed out by the creators. This must be one of the best imagined cities I’ve come across for a while and is certainly comparable with Mieville’s Un Lun Dun in creation and love.
This book is a useful reminder of the role of horror in children’s fiction as revelation about the true nature of the world. We are presented with a world which centres around something to god to be true,a fact which the adults forget. Neatly in the serpent’s egg though is the twist about the fashionable fur and so another truth is revealed to the reader which is ignored by the adult world.

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