About the Author
Tudor Humphries was born in 1953 and spent his childhood constantly drawing or lost in books. He trained as a costume and set designer for the theatre and was deeply influenced by the lighting and drama of theatre productions. Having qualified, Tudor returned to his first love, books, and moved to the rural backwater of North Devon with his wife. He became a landscape painter, wildlife artist and children's book illustrator. He spends as much time as possible out in the landscape, looking for wildlife, drawing deep inspiration from the natural, atmospheric world around him.
K-Gr 2-Sweeping watercolor views of a river flowing through wooded terrain suggest that this will be a realistic nature story. However, the fanciful tale of a playful young otter bedeviled by an elder takes anthropomorphic and murky turns. Flibbertigibbet loves the moon. "He watched its face in the water.... He'd been sent to catch fish, but he had been chasing froglets and newts instead." Flibberty's lollygagging is cut short by irascible King Otter: "Catch me a fish, and it had better be on a silver dish." The demand for a silver dish is perplexing to the young otter, and likely will be for some readers as well, for tableware is nowhere in evidence in this watery world. The otter spends the night in fruitless search, encouraged by a kindly heron. At dawn, when the hungry old otter appears once more, a fish is dropped from on high by the heron, "slap.on the shimmering dish." Although the pictured "dish" looks very much like a white crockery plate atop the water, it is apparently the reflection of the silvery moon. Though the metaphor is a bit strained and the tone sentimental, Humphries has a way with words and a good hand with a paintbrush. The hapless youngster abetted by a kindly guardian will probably be satisfying bedtime fare for some children.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Humphries's (Hiding) splendid watercolors follow an otter's all-night journey ("Night was Day for him, and Day was Night") in this story about two friends on a curious quest. "Catch me a fish," the King of the River commands Flibbertigibbet the otter, "and it had better be on a silver dish." Distracted and discouraged, Flibbertigibbet searches through the night with no success. His friend, Heron, standing on the riverbank, urges him on: "Use your eyes; use your wits." In the end, an unexpected source serves as the dish, the Heron helps Flibbertigibbet with the fish and all's well. Humphries writes with skill, striking a balance between lyric touches and a sturdy narrative, but it's his limpid paintings of night on the river-the lavenders of sunset, deep midnight blues, the pinks and oranges of dawn-that make the work stand out. He paints a magical world that is part of this one, yet independent of it (no humans appear). Readers whose imaginations are fired by the secret lives of wild creatures will treasure the otter's story. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
'A hauntingly magical fantasy.' Northern Echo 'Humphries's lyrical prose, festooned with internal rhymes and wordplay, is perfectly matched to his beautiful dusky watercolors. They shine with a silvery light, investing the adventure with a suitably majestic magic. First rate.' Kirkus Reviews A jewel of a book. Carousel Whimsical yet lyrical, it is a lovely exploration of the riverbank and perfect for those who love a bucolic tale. Bookseller