Bob Robber and Dancing Jane
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For any illustrator, this is a text to die for, and Willey has done it full justice with her darkly luminous and newly 'digitalised' imagery. How refreshing it is to come across an unsanitised dark tale in the best theatrical traditions of the genre. 'Bob Robber was a thief. He could steal the honey from the bees and the scent from the flowers. He could steal the truth from a promise and make it into a lie.' The sinister Bob lurks in the oily gloom, waiting for his moment, but he is bewitched by the nightly appearance of Dancing Jane, and longs to be able to join in. 'I can sneak and I can thieve, but I can't dance a step!' In the ensuing enchanting pages he steals Dancing Jane's shadow, but it won't dance with him, only hanging limply in his arms. He loses his heart to her, returns the shadow, and then she '... danced the night out of him. She danced the honey back into the bees, the scent back into the flowers and filled the darkness with unbroken promises.' Perhaps some parents will be concerned about the book's content, at a time when children are taught never to trust strangers, but this is an uplifting tale of conversion and transformation, and the authors and publisher are to be congratulated for producing it so beautifully.