Hello again! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far. Today I’m looking forward to sharing with you about Little Doctor and the Fearless Beast, by Sophie Gilmore. This book is definitely worthy of the accolades it’s been receiving and I hope you get a chance to read it. I’m realizing there are books that feel timeless, and this is one of those stories for me – and that is my favorite thing I’d like to focus on in particular in this post.
Looking at this cover, if I didn’t already know, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which year it was created. But I could tell you that no matter what year it would be, it would be picked up and read. That title and artwork are excellent. I’m so glad Sophie didn’t name it Little Doctor and the Fearless Crocodile. Fearless Beast just seems so much more fun and allows one’s imagination to hold a little less tight to reality.
“There once lived a child the crocodiles called Little Doctor.” We’re thrust right into it. I’m reminded of “Where the Wild Things Are” with how we’re just suddenly in the middle of it and it’s okay. We don’t need the set up of information. We just get it.
On the second spread, we see what seems to be a normal Dr./patient relationship in the way Little Doctor (a child) takes care of the patients (crocodiles). Reminds me of an occupation a child would actually say they’d like to have. It’s a wonderful setup.
Who could have guessed the crocodiles would have repaid Little Doctor with legendary tales?!!! It’s amazing and brilliant, and yet, doesn’t seem out of place one bit.
Another detail I really appreciated about this book was that Little Doctor seems to be all this child is referred to as – like it’s her name. And of course the fearless beast is Big Mean.
The way Sophie Gilmore has written this with the narrator’s voice also seems to work so well for the “timeless” feel. Nothing is explained as extraordinary (even when it is) or overly and emotionally descriptive (when it clearly could have been). It’s all very well balanced and seems to keep us as the reader in a place that realizes this may not be normal, but this is the way things work.
The entire story is right on point with this detail as well.
Just as the first couple wonderful page turns, this story has a couple more great reveals that I don’t want to spoil – especially the ending.
Kudos to Sophie Gilmore for this one. This feels like a book I read and enjoyed as a child. I can imagine that children will be able to read and relate and enjoy this story as long as it will be available to them – which I hope is a very long time.
As a writer, my takeaway will be the reflection on my own stories I write and whether they would be enjoyable not only in the future, but to past children as well. I know not every story needs to pass that test, and maybe a portion of this book ability to achieve it might be the beautiful watercolor artwork. I think it’s just good to measure these things as we write and I hope you’re able to reflect and allow that to inform your own writing as well.
Special bonus: Did you see the crocodile wearing the cone of shame?! So good.
Until next time!