Review: The House Of Madame M by Clothilde Perrin.
Are you lost? Come in!
Welcome to The House Of Madame M, where things slither and creak and nothing is as it seems. There are skeletons in the cupboards – real ones – and clawed things in the corners and the food in the kitchen would literally kill.
This pop-up book is a delight for the insatiably gothic. With doors to open and dials to turn, it is super hands-on. The illustrations are rich in detail. As well as playing with the interactive features, the reader is kept busy scanning over the page and taking in the surprises.
For surprises there are. It seems a shame to spoil any more, but I jumped once or twice as I came across things I hadn’t seen at the first glance.
Four or five lines accompany each spread, giving the impression that someone – or some creeping, crawling thing – has been charged with giving the reader a guided tour. The implication is that, once a person enters the house, they can never ever leave.
My interest in this was particularly as a pop-up. There’s something about pop-up books. Perhaps they remind us that storytelling can take so many different forms. They break the rules, almost, by giving the reader so much authority over what moves when and in what order things are explored. Anybody who had a pop-up book in childhood will gravitate towards them in a second-hand bookshop, even if they don’t intend to buy. This format lends itself well to the gothic and unruly world of Madame M. There’s something compelling about playing with the illustrations while being guided through the book by the unearthly narrator.
I love the use of dark and light. The eye is drawn to the patches of yellow and then to the details within them. The use of texture is also exciting, especially to bring the monsters to life.
Both trick and treat at the same time. With added surprise value. A lovely creation that will excite readers this Halloween.
The House Of Madame M is available now from Gecko Press. RRP £16.99
Thanks to Laura Smythe PR and Gecko Press for my copy.