Ken Lamug's THE STUMPS OF FLATTOP HILL brings a long-overdue disturbance to the picture book arena. The cover alone promised me things that I was desperate for the story to keep.
And keep them, it did.
THE STUMPS OF FLATTOP HILL is an otherworldly cautionary picture book in which dear little Florence accepts a dare to face perils unknown but ends up Doing Something Else And That Is All I Will Say On The Plot Because Reasons. If you want more, go here or here.
What I love about Lamug's storytelling is that it's done in fluctuating rhythm with approximate rhyme. The text is one-part concrete poem, one-part summoning spell. I've read it silently a bajillion times and out loud thrice. Either way, the cadence gives me the jibblies.
And the illustrations?
Considering I come from an ancient line of visual artists but cannot sketch worth a bleep, I have unreasonably high expectations for inky line drawings.
Lamug does not disappoint.
And do excuse me while I salivate over the shade-throwing monochromatic crosshatching and tricksy nods to my spirt animal, himself, Edward Gorey.
The words and pictures in THE STUMPS OF FLATTOP HILL blend melodically into a narrative that respects and challenges readers.
But readers beware: this is a macabre book. A picture book, yes. But a chilling one with eerie illustrations and unsettling text.
Well played, Lamug. Well played.
As such, I deduct one star due to 100% personal bias. THE STUMPS OF FLATTOP HILL is notsuitable for my youngest niece (aged 6¾) for whom death and dying are triggers. So, she'll probably be scarred for life when if I read it to her. And I'm guessing she's not the only one.
Regardless, THE STUMPS OF FLATTOP HILL is an instant classic in my book[shelf].
But you don't have to take my word for it!
Find out more about Ken Lamug here:
or see the book here:
Kenneth Kit Lamug: The Stumps of Flattop Hill (One Peace Books, 16 March 2016). ISBN 978-1935548867, RRP £13.50
ISBN# 978-1935548867, Hardcover, 40pages, Language: English, Dimensions: 9" x 7"