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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Fearsome Five (The)
by Wolf Erlbruch
Age Range: 6-8
When Hyena pays a visit to four ugly misfits – Horrible Toad with his yellow eyes and fat warts over his face, Garbage Gobbler Rat, Umbrella Boy Bat and Leggy old Spinster Spider – he discovers that they are all utterly miserable. Hyena thinks they are the ‘cry-baby club’ and asks the four if they have a problem. “It’s generally agreed that we’re revolting” said Rat. Hyena sets out to teach them that it doesn’t matter what other people think – it is what you do that matters. He takes out his saxophone and begins to play. The friends listen to the beautiful music and find that they have forgotten their physical ugliness. Each discovers they have their own special talent and by the end of the tale they are able to create their own special music.
Award-winning Wolf Erlbruch (author and illustrator of Duck, Death and the Tulip and illustrator of The Story of the Little Mole who Knew it was None of His Business) has created an engaging picture book with a feast of colourful, comic illustrations and amusing text. The pictures dominate the double-page spread with the text set out in a white box on the left-hand page.
Through both Erlbruch’s text and especially the illustrations, Hyena is able to convey an important message to the other animals – being happy is more important than beauty and it’s not what you look like, but what you do in life that counts.