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The Travelling Bookshop: Mim and the Anxious Artist

By Katrina Nannestad
Illustrated by Cheryl Orsini
Reviewed by Sarah Custance
Award winning Australian author Katrina Nannestad has been making waves with two of her most recent works We Are Wolves and Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief. Her other works also include series such as The Red Dirt Diaries, Olive of Groves, Lottie Perkins, The Girl, the Dog and the Writer, and last but not least The Travelling Bookshop series in which Mim and the Anxious Artist is the 3rd instalment.
10-year-old Mim, her little brother Nat, and her father Zeddy journey all over the world in their travelling bookshop which just so happens to be a quaint wooden caravan being pulled by their horse Flossy. Along with the resident hedgehogs, cockatoo, and a flying lamb named Daisy (who can only fly when wearing fairy costume wings), the family and their bookshop travel to wherever they are needed the most, where the right book can make the biggest difference.
When Flossy brings the bookshop to Paris, Mim is delighted by all of the beautiful sites, interesting people, and delicious food! Soon they encounter Pierre, a remarkably talented artist who cannot part ways with any of his paintings, and Mim is sure that he is the reason they are in Paris. All that they need to do is give him the right book and let the bookshop do its magic so that Pierre will be fixed enough to be able to sell his artwork, except her dad keeps giving him the wrong books! But in a world where the line between books and reality is thinner than most people believe, maybe the wrong book will actually be the right one.
Mim and the Anxious Artist is a lovely little addition to the Travelling Bookshop series. While each book can be read on its own, it is preferable to read the books in order so as not to miss out on the little things that link them all together. In this book, we get to meet new friends, see Nat gain a new obsession, witness Daisy the lamb’s unexpected makeover, and read about why hedgehogs should not be put in charge of looking after snails… we are also once again captivated by the deceptively simple and expressive illustrations from the wonderful Cheryl Orsini that are scattered throughout the book.
While this book is still as sweet and delightful as its predecessors, it does have an overly familiar air about it. I would have thought that by book 3 Mim would have realised that her dad knew what he was doing when it came to handing out books and that maybe Mim could even give it a go herself? Though non of this changes the fact that it is still a fun, easy, and engaging read for a younger middle-grade audience.
HarperCollins 2022
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