Harold Snipperpot’s Best Disaster Ever

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review

Harold Snipperpot’s parents never speak to him or give him a kiss, and certainly never celebrate his birthday. But when Mr Ponzio arrives, bringing with him a whole zoo’s worth of wild animals, they fill the house with such chaos (and poo) that it bursts out into the streets. Disaster! Yet Harold starts to find the chaos quite exhilarating, and it turns out that escaping their imprisonment in the trunk does wonders for Mr and Mrs Snipperpot.

Beatrice Alemagna’s books always merge thoughtful storylines with outlandish, quirky spreads that use collaged text, apparently unfinished crayoned outlines and sophisticated, colour-rich detail. The mixed media appearance creates a sense of uncertainty and potential echoed in the unexpected events of the story – Harold Snipperpot’s is a story of the surprisingly good things that can come of chaos.

While this could easily be a crazy story about animals rampaging through a town, Alemagna makes sure that what we’re really talking about is the sadness of a lost emotional bond between parent and child, and how, sometimes, when things go wrong, it can bring us together in ways we never expected. It’s tremendously touching, well-judged and just a little bit different.

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