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In the Deep End

Written & illustrated by Charlie Thomson

Reviewed by Zewlan Moor

In the Deep End is one of the twelve new picture books for Queensland’s youngest readers published as part of First 5 Forever, an early literacy program initiated by the Queensland Government and coordinated by the State Library of Queensland.

As resident bibliotherapist I am often asked to review the books about helping kids to overcome their fears. They are often didactic and a little earnest. So I was surprised to find this book was quite fun!

It has a good rhythm and pace, with some spooky bits suitable for hamming up in a read-aloud. Some of the rhyme is forced, but overall it works and presents a deliciously shivery story for early childhood, with a satisfying narrative arc about overcoming fears of the monster in the pool. The ending ties in another potential site for spooky delight in a child’s life.

Author/illustrator, Charlie Thomson, is an educator and hip-hop artist who has also presented at a World Congress on Shakespeare. He has brought this ability to mix and mash the everyday with the dramatic into this picture book, creating an  example of what could be considered Queensland Gothic.

Where else would you see The head of a dragon, the tail of a snake, the bluey-green monster coming out of its den in a backyard swimming pool?

There’s no product placement mention of the trade name “Creepy Crawly”, but we Queenslanders know it for what it is. We relate to the fear…

First 5 Forever 

State Library of Queensland 2020

1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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