Staff Review by Chris Saliba
Fans of Milly Molly Mandy will find much to enjoy in Joyce Lankester Brisley's Bunchy stories. They are more surreal than Milly Molly Mandy's adventures as they explore childhood imagination.
Joyce Lankester Brisley is best known for her Milly Molly Mandy stories, but she also created other characters besides this perennial favourite. Bunchy is a little girl who lives with her grandmother and uses her imagination to transport herself into magical worlds of make-believe. Unlike Milly Molly Mandy, who spends much of her time adventuring outside of her cottage with the white thatched roof, Bunchy spends her time inside. She leads a solitary life with her adored grandmother, but manages to find escape and company through a rich fantasy life.
There are ten stories in this collection. In each one, Bunchy’s grandmother gives her some simple toy, game or object from around the house, and Bunchy then works it up into a rich adventure. There is a mild touch of Alice In Wonderland surrealness in these stories.
In the opening story ‘Bunchy and the Pastry Dough’ a piece of pastry dough that is given to Bunchy is flattened with a rolling pin and turned into a pastry-girl that comes to life. Bunchy then shrinks to the pastry-girl’s size and enters her pastry house. Many other similar things happen in the other stories. Bunchy shrinks or grows, effortlessly walks into other worlds and makes friendships with formerly inanimate objects. The difference from Alice in Wonderland is that it's all a pleasing afternoon daydream. No Queen of Hearts here.
All the stories are exquisitely illustrated by Joyce Lankester Brisley. The book is almost worth the price just for the beautiful drawings.
Recommended age: 6 upwards
Bunchy, by Joyce Lankester Brisley. Published by Puffin. ISBN: 9780141368672 $19.99