Glister by Andi Watson
It’s sad to note that something as charming as this modern fairy tale for girls was such a complete failure in the U.S. I’ve been ordering the U.K. editions online so I can have a matched set in the cute digest size, with all the neat design touches: glitter highlight on the pastel cover with matching colored shading inside. There are four titles in the series by Andi Watson, starting with The Haunted Teapot.
The Haunted Teapot, in addition to telling a darlingly illustrated story about mysterious happenings at Chilblain Hall, is accompanied by one of my favorite extras: an illustrated recipe. The charm is enhanced by the story being rather British in tone and word choice.
Glister gets a mysterious teapot in the mail. When she uses it, the ghost of writer Phillip Bulwark-Stratton appears. He’s mad that his reputation has been damaged and his works forgotten, so he enlists Glister as his secretary to finish his last book.
The story is creative and funny and full of amusing details, all beautifully drawn with emotion and excellent storytelling. The vocabulary can be pleasantly challenging, demonstrating a love for words that equals the images. I love Dad leaving Glister to make tea while he heads out to tackle the local troll under the bridge with a butterfly net. Then, when Phillip doesn’t consider how much Glister needs a break from the typewriter, Dad calls up, “I’ve fed your tea to the troll.” Punchline!
Then there’s the difference in their approaches to story construction — Glister keeps trying to introduce people to take care of the novel’s lead character, while Phillip turns everything into increased tragedy. And when she decides to reclaim charge of her own life, Glister demonstrates her creativity, willingness to ask for help, and imagination in finding different ways to solve her problem. Overall, it’s a wonderful read and a terrific book to share.
The book also has two additional stories, short two-pagers that show more of the characters, plus a preview of the next book: The House Hunt. In this one, we get a tour of Glister’s very unusual home, with magical rooms that come and go and its haunting inhabitants. Unfortunately, the village official, preparing for a show-offy competition, doesn’t appreciate its unique charms. When the house gets its feelings hurt, it leaves, and Glister has to find it and convince it to return. The various locations and architectural features provide terrific exercise for Watson’s imagination. See more with these preview pages.