Written and Illustrated by Sarah Dyer
Bloomsbury Childrens Books, 2001
Awards: Nestle Smarties Bronze Book Prize
On a faraway plain stood five lonely statues. Inside each statue lived a little fiend.
Eek! It’s: Fiends!
The five fiends in this book come out of their statues every day to enjoy all the beauty of the world around them. One day, it occurs to them that, since they enjoy the world so much, they should take the thing they like best and make it their own. So they steal the sun, the moon, the land, the sea and the sky and take them into their individual statues. But, of course, they discover that these things don’t function independently and they need each other to survive. The fiends return everything to its proper place and go back to enjoying them in their natural state.
This is the first book from author/illustrator Sarah Dyer (not to be confused with comic book writer Sarah Dyer) and it’s a lovely story. The fiend characters in the story are drawn as comic little impish creatures, with no implied malice in their natures. I even got the idea that their notion to take the elements they loved was based more on an immature wish to keep things they liked more than on actual avarice.
There is a lot of cleverness in the illustrations, especially in showing how the fiends managed to take the items, including catching the moon in a net and peeling the sky off like wallpaper. Ms. Dyer adds real depth to her message by spinning the ecological impact into the story, showing how each of these elements is affected by the others and how important the balance of nature is to the world. But the message never weighs the story down and the overall result is a very entertaining story.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that it’s better to add your piece to the puzzle for everyone’s enjoyment than to keep it for yourself, when it means nothing on its own.