Here we have collaboration between two expert picture book creators from different generations; indeed Emma Chichester Clark was a student of Quentin Blake at the Royal College of Art. It’s Emma who is the illustrator of Blake’s words here in this story of Hilda Snibbs and her trio of bothersome pets. Now these three are not your average cats, dogs or fish: Tim, Sam and Lulu are little monkeys, very lively little monkeys with big wide eyes that make them instantly endearing.
Every time Hilda goes out, leaving the three to their own devices, they create havoc of one kind or another. This long-suffering lady is always very forgiving but their creative use of her soap and water, not to mention the loo paper is the last straw. “Oh, for a peaceful like without these wicked little monkeys!” she cries. The next day after a visit her ailing mother, Hilda returns to a very tidy and seemingly empty home. The poor woman just cannot hold back her tears; but where can those three monkeys have gone?
Both children and adults will find much that resonates in this wonderfully mischievous tale. Blake’s words meld seamlessly with Chichester Clark’s illustrations, which are a mix of full-page scenes and action-packed vignettes of the mischief-makers at work. Sheer delight at every turn of the page.