Hello! I’m back already with another post, this time with Beatrice Alemagna’s latest: HAROLD SNIPPERPOT’S BEST DISASTER EVER. I bought this book mere minutes after seeing the cover online just because of the artwork. But what I received was a story that was immensely refreshing and satisfying.

I always want to talk about the artwork in these books, and this one is no exception, but the one thing I want to focus on today is how Beatrice Alemagna has reminded me that in the tight economy of words in a picture book, it can still work to have a story that breaks the word count banks.

How many picture books do you read that take longer than 5-7 minutes? The first time reading HAROLD SNIPPERPOT’S BEST DISASTER EVER, I was so drawn into the story that it didn’t matter how long it would take, I was going to enjoy finishing all 48 pages of it. Beatrice Alemagna is a gifted writer who captivates us with her words, no matter how many she uses.

This story begins in a way that folks often begin their own stories or situations in life with their friends or family. It’s a good hook and feels natural.

I think Beatrice also makes this book very relateable with the problem that’s revealed. It’s believable to think many children (and adults) would be understanding of Harold’s situation (or his parents).

This is the kind of book that takes it’s time to get to the next page. Beatrice Alemagna builds everything just enough and then reveals just enough to make sure we’re still on board – and she does it so well with fantastical elements that we just don’t expect.

It was books like this where I would look at the pictures, then just sit and daydream as I listened to the story being told. My imagination just unfolding all these scenes in my head.

This book has scenes that are serious, interesting, sad, shocking, and funny (among others). It just feels full and complete, and when it comes to an end, maybe that is why it’s so satisfying.

I do not wish to reveal any more of this story, because the ending is so charming and has such a surprising and wonderful twist – and I can’t tell you enough how much I loved it. Harold Snipperpot’s Best Disaster Ever is fantastic and I highly recommend picking up a copy and checking it out.

This is a book I will look to for inspiration to make sure I’m not just blindly following the rules or trends of the industry, but truly seeking to craft and chase a great story from my imagination onto the paper.

Take care!

Mike Boldt

Mike Boldt is an author and illustrator from Alberta, Canada. With more than 18 books in the wild, he's authored titles such as A TIGER TAIL and ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT FLUFFY (Simon and Schuster). He's also the illustrator of Dev Petty's I DON'T WANT TO BE A FROG & I DON'T WANT TO BE BIG & THERE'S NOTHING TO DO (Doubleday). You can learn more about Mike at www.mikeboldt.ca


  1. Now I have to get this book just to find out what happens.

  2. I have been waiting for this post. There are so many great PBs of the past that have more meat to them, more words, thoughts, ideas than 300-700 words can say. This is one of the great PBs of the present that remind us to tell the story, no matter the word count, rules, trends. Fun, absorbing story. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Oh, lots of excitement in this one! Love it!

  4. Looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I love the richness of the illustrations, IE the keys falling our Mr. Ponzio’s bag. (that coming from a person on the author side of PBs!) I sit here after reading this blog wondering what Harold, his family and Mr Ponzio are doing now. A great sign!

  6. Wonderful post! What an interesting story. I feel like author-illustrators can certainly bend or even break the word count banks, but author-only types can’t get away with that. This story would probably be moved up into the easy reader category if it was just a manuscript without art. However, when more author-illustrators make these sorts of books, I think it does open things up for authors to push word count in the future. I’ve never been a fan of rigid word count rules (especially when they’re based on trends!) Books like this are good for everyone. Love the art style. The voice is wonderfully whimsical. Totes going on my hold list. Thanks for sharing, Mike!

  7. What a thrill to know that stories with WORDS are still possible. Thank you.

  8. Can’t wait to get my hands on this book!!

  9. I’ve ordered this book and can’t wait for it to come in!

  10. Thanks for sharing this delightful book, Mike. It’s going on my “to read” list! I have to see how it ends!

  11. Now I have to get a copy too! It’s so wonderful to know that an old-fashioned style is still being produced. Reminds me of Rumer Godden.

  12. Wow! Thank you, Mike, for sharing this phenomenal book! I can’t wait to see it and will put it on the top of my hold list. How gratifying to know that someone broke the word barrier with such flare and finesse. Author-illustrators are leading the way to meatier books.

  13. Love the illustrations – can’t wait to read the book.

  14. Beatrice had me at the title! This is a gem of a book.

  15. What a book! Love it!

  16. What an interesting book. I’m adding it to my list. Perhaps another post about the art? I’m intrigued.

  17. Thanks for this, Mike! It looks wonderful!

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