Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Really Abominable Snowman

The Really Abominable Snowman

Valentina Mendicino

Even for the best of us good friends are hard to come by, but for The Really Abominable Snowman (known to you, me and his mum as Milo) this task is seemingly impossible.  He’s cute, super sweet and a dab hand around the house but Milo has a big problem: he has a reputation.  People think he’s abominable…like, really abominable.

In reality Milo is a craft-loving, lavender-scented domestic god who just wants to make a few friends.  Sadly his abominable reputation precedes him meaning that potential acquaintances are  scared away before they can get to know the real him.  Luckily he isn’t one to give up easily and after an image change, a hilarious foray into social media and a disappointing gathering of ‘The Society Of Misunderstood Creatures,’ Milo finds someone who likes him just the way he is.

Whether it is as a result of the person who made it or their affection for their character, sometimes a book comes along with a seemingly unidentifiable quality; something you can’t quite put your finger on.  Until you realise that what that quality is: it is joy.  It’s a rare thing but this book has exactly that, it exudes happiness.  Milo is refreshingly unlike any abominable snowman we’ve seen before and whether he’s seeking solace in his homemade cakes or stood jauntily with his vacuum cleaner, he is nothing less than adorable.  But what makes him so loveable is his attitude: he never gives up.  His loneliness never gets the better of him; he has a confidence and determination that are irresistible because as much as we’d like to believe that friends are easy to make, meeting new people is difficult and this book is the perfect reminder of all the fraught, embarrassing, disappointing encounters we’ve ever had.  What it also captures beautifully is the amount of effort it takes to make a real friend, and the joy of finding someone just as strange and unique as you are.  Milo puts as much effort into seeking his new friendships as he would like to get out of them and that is truly admirable, and the real reason we root for him. 

Valentina Mendicino’s artwork is smooth and polished while her subdued candy-colour palette is flawlessly balanced.  Her snow looks enticingly crisp, just waiting for that first footstep, while Milo’s signature cherry cupcakes are iced to perfection.  Full of soft rounded edges there is a wonderfully warm quality to her glossy work which is the perfect backdrop for Milo’s bristly exterior, although we are quick to learn that he’s no doubt as soft on the outside as he is on the inside.  The real star of this book however is Mendicino’s sense of humour.  Mixing together the strange world of creatures with a terrific sense of the everyday, she creates a book that is filled with absurdity, fun and fantastically expressive characters.

Full of charm and warmth, despite the icy climate, The Really Abominable Snowman is a joyful reminder that no matter who, or what, you are, life can be really sweet.

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