Book Review: Varmints by Marc Craste, Helen Ward

This book has been sitting on my shelf forever. I am not sure what made me buy it but I am glad I did. In the last few years away from blogging I realised that telling you the plot of a picture book makes no sense. I am going to share my thoughts beyond the book and a bit of research that I always do before and after.

The book is narrated in three parts (love the separating sheets). Coincidentally, this is the second one I am reading this week that has three parts. The other being Beowulf. Varmints is a story about how industrialisation and urbanisation is destroying the environment.

The words are light and the illustrations are heavy. The pages will entice you to the extent that you will stay on each page for a long time and look around like a tourist.

The dark tale has an almost post-apocalyptic ring to it. It is hard to tell whether it is the beginning or the end but the heart wrenching book is definitely relevant to our ‘today’. People from all around the world have now become more conscious of how much destruction we have brought upon ourselves by destroying the environment.

As grave as that sounds the book is rather hopeful. There is light in the darkness (darkness is almost literal, I had to strain my eyes to read because of the usage of dark colours). It will work well to use this book to introduce little children to the idea of protecting their environment.

Also this book will appeal to anybody trying to do their part in saving the environment, whether you are separating your garbage, have an organic garden on your terrace or have dedicated your life to the cause itself.

A little bit about the author and illustrator. Helen Ward has written and illustrated over 25 picture books. Marc Craste is an animation director who won a BAFTA for his short film Jojo in the stars. The book was made into a short film – IMDB link.

I do recommend this book with no doubt in my heart.

And I will judge you if you don’t find the tiny creature absolutely adorable.


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