Greta Von Gerbil & Her Really Large Lexicon
by Blair Reeve (words) and Chris Stapp (pictures) (Anapest Press, Hong Kong)
Reviewed by Vaughan Rapatahana
This is the second recent conjoint publication by Reeve and Stapp; all to do with esoteric, arcane and obscure vocabulary – sesquipedalian, anyone – and so much more besides. Before I write further, I must stress that the book is an equal partnership between words and images and that one cannot thrive without the other.
This slim tome is a cogent symbiosis of the two: Stapp’s colourful, exaggerated designs well complement Reeve’s colourful, exaggerated lexicon, as purveyed via the voice of Greta; who incidentally dresses as lavishly as her harlequin declarations. Thus, she
took pleasure in garments of violet and purple.
Once again, as with the initial publication of Hogart the Hedgehog Turns Nink (2015), Reeve and Stapp are deliberately crafting something rather more than a kid’s pictorial storybook. For not only is the vocabulary deliberately too abstruse for most young children to be able to pronounce, let alone comprehend, but the ironies within the text may also pass them by somewhat: Greta Von Gerbil is a kid’s tale built more for adults. The authors are confronting reader prejudices that dictate that big bright pictures, cartoon and caricature-like, must mean a ‘children’s book’: this is far from the case in this publication.