The FollowerAuthor Richard Thompson Illustrated by Martin Springett ISBN 9781550418804 Binding Trade Paper Publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside Publication Date October 23, 2003 Size 139 x 215 mm
Our Choice Award from the Canadian Children's Book Centre, 2001
On Monday dark as shut your eyes
It followed her home . . .
Down the lane, over the lawn,
Past the Marble Frog and the Granite Swan
She cast a glance - and quick as that -
It was gone.
The new collaboration between author Richard Thompson and illustrator Martin Springett is an eerie picture-book poem perfect for late-night reading. What is following the young witch home every night past the frightening statues and the sinister life-like trees? Before the witch discovers the identity of the follower" young readers will find the answer to the mystery in the shadowy illustrations.
Martin Springett's use of a new style for his illustrations sets the mood perfectly as the witch makes her way home night after night with the mysterious follower close behind. Richard Thompson's haunting poem is a perfect read-aloud for very young readers with plenty of repetition and rhyme.
". . . a Halloween book that sets an appropriately spooky tone without being scary, will work well with a younger audience, particularly preschool to primary grades. . . [Richard Thompson] aims to keep a young audience engaged, using a varied vocabulary, imaginative metaphors, and a suitably creepy setting along with the requisite rhyme and rhythm."
- The Quill and Quire
"On Monday,/Dark as shut your eyes,/It followed her home . . .
/Down the lane, over the lawn/Past the Marble Frog
and the Granite Swan./She cast a glance -- and quick as that --
/ It was gone."
And then, "In Tuesday's fog,/Damp and foul, it followed her home. . ." All the days of the week follow.
The "her" is a witch. The "it?" The very last page reveals the answer to that question. Springett's wonderfully atmospheric paintings cast a spell that augments the magic of Richard Thompson's poem."
- Susan Perren, The Globe and Mail
"From "Monday, Dark as shut your eyes" to "Sunday, Soft with Autumn's sighs," something follows a young witch home each night, through the tangled forest, past lifelike statues, during storms, and beneath a bright full moon. What could it be? Thanks to clues hidden in the art, children will discover the follower's identity (the creature turns out to be surprisingly small, soft, and furry) before the witch does. This picture-book poem combines mystery with a delightfully spooky, lyrical journey through shadowy night, and the cumulative rhyme will be wonderful for reading aloud. Enhancing the drama, Springett's dreamy, well-detailed illustrations in deep hues sweep across the pages, alternating the follower's perspective with wide vistas and overviews of the witch's journey. A charming, not-too-spooky story that can be enjoyed any night, all year round."
"The haunting poem and sinister illustrations of The Follower, Richard Thompson's latest collaboration with Martin Springett, is certain to create a delicious thrill of fear in young listeners. Each day of the week during her walk home, a young witch is followed by a mysterious "it." She passes by an assortment of terrifying objects (both inanimate and otherwise!) including huge marble statues, skeletal trees, Bogeyman's Bog, a Gunny Wolf, barking dogs and monstrous ogres, but each time she turns around, "it" is gone. Not until the last page does the reader discover "its" identity. Thompson's use of cumulative repetition and rhyme reinforces the suspense and makes this book a perfect one for beginning readers to "practice" on after they have heard it.
The Follower is a beautiful book. Each piece of text is inset into Springett's shadowy illustrations, all of which are done in muted colours perfectly capturing the dark, nightmarish mood of the story. The artist's clever foreshadowing of the ending will delight young readers as they go back through the book to find the clues which will solve the mystery...
The Follower will make a worthwhile addition to the library's collection of "scary Hallowe'en" books. Teachers and librarians should find it an excellent read-aloud for primary children at any time of the year, and it is certain to inspire young readers to attempt to read it on their own thereafter.
- CM Magazine
Martin Springett has earned the Aurora Award for Fantasy and Science Fiction Illustration, and the CLA's Notable designation. Also an accomplished musician, Martin lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his wife and two daughters.