I love getting post. I clearly remember the morning my Weetabix Club membership arrived when I was eight. Even getting a 'Brains' badge instead of a 'Bixie' badge didn't spoil the thrill of a parcel arriving at our house, addressed to me.
Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever grow up and stop feeling surges of giddy Weetabix Gang excitement when parcels or letters arrive in my letterbox. (Bills and junk mail please note, this does not apply to you.) There's no sign of that yet, especially when someone sends me a parcel filled with pictures, stories and adventures. Which is what happened when Mamoko came through my door.
Each page in Mamoko is filled from corner to corner with characters and clues, which you uncover to tell the story. The first page introduces the players, but this is the only time words are used – the rest of the story is all told through Daniel Mizielinski's maze of brilliantly simple illustrations. So you find out that Clyde Snatchit (the cat) has been up to not good and it's down to Claude van Clue (the rat) to solve the crime. Then you follow Clyde's pink-and-green striped socks through the pages to uncover their tales/tails. (I won't spoil it for you, but it involves a famous Expressionist painting by an anxious Norwegian.) Or you start with Otto Trump the elephant and roller-skate with him all the way to the fair. Or the aliens visiting from outer-space. Or Magical Miss Chubb and her mystery box.
Mamoko is a little bit like one of my all-time favourite books The Great Green Mouse Disaster, but with extra effort because you need to scour each page to find the character and learn the next bit of their story. It needs you to look, remember and imagine. And in return it gives you hundreds of stories rolled into sixteen pages, with a new place to begin and a new ending every time you pick it up.
I love this book with all my heart because the illustrations are allowed to tell the story. The pictures aren't just there to enhance the story, they are the story. And I imagine that no matter how many times I read it, I'll probably still find another story to tell.
PS. Big Picture Press, you are even better than a Bixie badge.