The Book That Made Me: James Mayhew 17/07/19
The Story of Tantrum O'Furrily
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Set on a wild and windy night, a stray cat called Tantrum O'Furrily is out and about with her three hungry kittens, who doubt that a story can ease their rumbling stomachs. Yet they realise that if they're really brave and believe in stories, amazing things can happen.
With its story-within-a-story structure, this picture book could perhaps become a little confusing, but Mark Nicholas's beautifully smudged illustrations and the change of font styles keep everything clear. Nicholas is one to watch: he won the Carmelite Prize for Illustration in 2016 (and part of his prize was to illustrate this very picture book). He definitely succeeds in bringing it all together and capturing the energy of Tantrum and his friends, the stray cats.
Cressida Cowell's story reads like a fairy tale – there's even a big, bad wolf. Like all good fairy tales, there's a heartwarming message to take away and absorb: that hope and courage can always triumph and we can always change our own stories. Cowell's gentle repetition of words only adds to the calming, lulling effect.