This is a gorgeously atmospheric re-telling of Dodie Smith’s classic tale, The Hundred And One Dalmatians from Peter Bently & Steven Lenton.
Intrigue, a deliciously wicked villain and a race against time – all these ingredients remain, with a few more popped in, to make a delightful mix for younger readers.
Bently’s narrative is clear, and well paced as he introduces his readers to the homely Mr and Mrs Dearly, and their fabulously spotty new puppies. His narratives guides little readers gently through the twists and turns of the original plot – the disappearance of the puppies, Pongo & Missis’ cry for help, the dastardly Hell Hall and the bumbling guards.
Steven Lenton’s eye catching illustrations are chock-a-block full of detail, this pairs beautifully with the slightly longer text length – giving little eyes plenty to gaze upon as the story unfolds.
The first appearance of Cruella de Vil is brilliantly handled – resplendent in huge peacock feathers she towers over the down-to-earth Mr and Mrs Dearly (their respective tank tops and pearls are a great touch!) The facing page shows a large close of up Cruella’s sharp and unforgiving face… little readers will be under no doubt as to the nature of this character!
Vignettes depicting the search for the missing puppies with the household convey the chaos and frustration so effectively, whilst a change to the hues as Pongo & Missis head off in the night shows their sadness and desperation.
Ah! I’m a little in love with Lenton’s illustrations – final shout out to the brilliantly depicted scene of Cruella in her pink fluffy slippers and nightgown bursting in upon her hapless guards. The rest? You’ll have to discover the other gems for yourselves.
Peter Bently and Steven Lenton have worked their magic on Dodie Smith’s wonderful story, creating a fabulous picture book for younger listeners.