This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Gregory and the Grimbockle tells the tale of a ten-year-old boy named Gregory who has a best friend in New Zealand, loves to play dominoes and has a very unfortunate mole right under his nose.
Gregory isn’t too happy with his family life and tends to feel a bit lonely at times, but everything changes for him when a tiny creature who calls himself the Grimbockle, crawls right out of the mole on his face. The Grimbockle teaches Gregory all about the invisible threads (known by the Bockles as “exoodles”) that tie humans together and how it’s his job, along with all the other Bockles, to patch them all up when they are limp and scraggly.
That night, the Grimbockle takes Gregory on a journey, and suddenly his life is filled with shrinking and growing paint, scrompledials that slow down time, a magical cockroach steed, the colourful world of Bocklia and more adventure than he could have ever imagined.
Melanie Schubert’s story uses such an evocative way to explain the importance of our relationships with the people around us and can serve as a very important lesson. The message that the state of the exoodles is dependent on one’s actions speaks powerfully of reality and how relationships may suffer if they’re not nurtured. Learning about the Bockles and their threads teaches Gregory how important it is to work on his relationships – to make an effort and to show kindness to even those who may not deserve it. The Bockles learn a lesson from the little “hoo-man” boy too when they realise that no amount of fixing and patching up threads on their part can match the power of real love and kindness.
This book left me thinking about the state of my own “exoodles” – how certain threads in my life may be hanging slightly limp and what might need to be done to rectify that. Whilst silly and light-hearted, Gregory’s tale still holds a powerful message that children of all ages can enjoy and learn from.
All in all, Gregory and the Grimbockle is a fun, exciting story full of all sorts of magic and laughs. I found it to be quite reminiscent of the Roald Dahl stories I loved so dearly as a child, delightfully inventive and beautifully written. The way the Bockles speak is terribly charming and one can’t help but fall in love with their plump little bodies and big beady eyes as they are brought to life in the gorgeous illustrations by Abigail Kraft. The soundtrack, composed by Jared Kraft, that goes along with the story is a brilliant idea too and truly adds to the magic of the experience.