The hushed stillness of the crowded room is interrupted only by the tinkling of eerie music. Dressed head to toe in black, eyes included, her hands move deftly through the air to reveal the magical world of the Grimstones through the language of Auslan. Whilst Paula interprets for those not fluent in Auslan, the marionettes are animated against the back drop of large suitcases which are unfolded to expose the intricate, quirky and gothic world of the Grimstones family.
The Grimstones performances, which have quietly transfixed many across Australia, occupy a world crafted entirely by Asphyxia over a period of 18months. From the marionettes to the picture frames adorning the walls in their miniature world all have been lovingly created. It is Martha in particular who Asphyxia holds dear to her heart and therefore only fitting that is should be Martha who leads the leap on to paper and the world of books … bringing the world of the Grimstones to a whole new audience.
Each of the Grimstones’ books, Hatched and Mortimer Revealed, is a diary written by the young and spirited Martha Grimstone. Asphyxia keeps true to the diary format – Martha’s hand drawn images and notes are ‘taped’ on to her diary pages, photos pinned on with photo corners. The imaginative way in which this great story is pulled together will have you hooked from the moment you open the first page.
The appeal of the Grimstones does not lie solely in its visual appeal, these are expertly crafted novels. Hatched contains an original and intriguing plot focusing on Martha’s creation in Grandpa Grimstone’s apothecary. The language is delicate and descriptive, accurately capturing the character of Martha and her observations of those around her. With her thoughts and feeling laid open, Martha quickly becomes a character to adore.
In Mortimer Revealed real insights are gained in to Martha’s mother and Aunt Gertrude in particular. Martha is led on the path to self discovery too, which is delightful to follow as she finally achieves her ambition of unearthing her own, special magnificent quality … no spoilers here, the answer is in the book!
Asphyxia herself is a talented and creative individual with a past history as a ballerina, circus performer, a puppeteer and now a creator of theatrical productions … we think writer can now be added to this impressive list!
Full reviews of both books, alongside a guide to on line prices, can be viewed at My Book Corner. The third book in the series The Grimstones – Whirlwind, will be available in December.
Full reviews, plus price comparisons for each book can be found at www.mybookcorner
Emma Perry is a Melbourne dwelling book lover and freelance writer. She is the founder of My Book Corner which uniquely features reviews of the best books for children alongside online price comparisons. Visit My Book Corner to discover more great books for children.