Thursday, November 29, 2012

The magnificent nose and other marvels by Anna Fienberg illustrated by Kim Gamble

In 1992 The Magnificent Nose and other marvels was short listed for the CBCA awards.  It is a collection of five enchanting short stories featuring characters with special gifts.  Linking each story is a special spider called Aristan.

I thought of this book this week as I was re-reading The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo.  I saw The Snow Spider in my local second hand bookshop and I remembered enjoying it years ago.  You can read the plot here.  I did enjoy this story of healing and magic but not enough to buy a new copy for our school library. It seemed a little contrived the way the stranger Eiryls is able to heal the grief of this family following the disappearance of their daughter Bethann.  This review sums up my feelings.

The magnificent nose on the other hand is a fabulous book and one I love to read aloud.  My favourite story in the collection is Ignatius Binz and his magnificent nose.  Ignatius comes from a family of perfume makers.  He has inherited a brilliant nose but he is not content to stay home and continue the family tradition. He longs for adventure. "...alone in his room at night, Ignatius wondered if there mightn't more to life than perfume. It wasn't very exciting, he thought, to sit in an office with a lot of test tubes. And was it, Ignatius wondered deep in his soul, very useful?"

Aristan encourages Ignatius to follow his dream. He sets of to see the world until is nose detects danger in the city. Ignatius alerts the fire brigade and saves the city and in turn finds his place in the world. "... up here on the tower I can sniff out trouble before it gets started. I deal in fires, floods and any number of Natural Disasters.".

This book would be a perfect family read-a-loud for young children aged 6 to 9.  In addition to the book I also have a CD read by Anna Paquin.  I find this strange but The magnificent nose even has a Wikipedia entry.  My copy has a different cover but I was not able to find a image of this to share with you. If you are in the mood for a magical book with charming Kim Gamble illustrations look for this book in your library today.

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