The new book from Laura Dockrill is a collection of modern-day fairytales, poems and retellings of classic stories, all with a slightly sinister edge. Reminiscent of Roald Dahl, Tim Burton and even Grimm, the stories take on a not-quite supernatural world of Dockrill's conjuring.
Reinventions of The Princess and the Pea- featuring a future WAG and some stoned surfer dudes, Hansel and Gretel- an interesting wry look at child abuse and even classic ghost stories about the banshee all get a wonderful retelling, full of energy, wit, charisma and attention to detail. Dockrill flips between so many landscapes, characters and settings with ease that her multi-narrative stories are both dense and page-turning. The illustrations add to the slightly ghoulish feel with the hand-scrawled, terrifying open-screaming faces and tapestries of horror.
Some of Dockrill's performance poems get a written outing here, in all their glory. If you've ever seen her live and experienced the screaming banshee delivery she is known for, you'll be glad for a reading aide as the stories encapsulate the other-worldly slots of love, obsession and mickey-taking.
In the scribbled drawings and wild imagination, there is a clear attention to detail here and Dockrill has managed a triumph here: harnessing the tour-de-force live presence into pages. It's not an easy task. But she has managed it.