When You Give An Imp A Penny by Henry, Josh and Harrison Herz is a short children’s story book about…, well the title pretty much tells you what the story is about.
As with the majority of children’s storybooks the narrative is straightforward. An imp borrows a spade to bury his penny in a garden and it makes such a mess carrying out this most simple of tasks that the gardens owner asks the imp to tidy up after itself. The imp borrows a broom to sweep up the mess and accidentally sets it on fire, and the more he tries to tidy his mess the more havoc and calamity ensues, until he leaves the owner of the messy house and garden with a bag of gold coins. Which begs the question, why did the imp need to bury the penny if he can conjure riches at will. As charming as the story is, this is one of two stumbling blocks in this tale, the fact that there seems to be no discernible logic with regard to the conjuring of riches. The other being that the text, whilst being serviceable, is somewhat flat.
Gruffalo and Stick Man creator Julia Donaldson is renowned for her children’s tales. That’s because her narrative, whilst gently rhyming, comes alive and is instantly memorable to the child that is reading the story, or, as is often the case with this reviewer, reading the story to their child. This didn’t prove to be the case with When You Give An Imp A Penny.
However, Abigail Larson’s artwork is a feast for the eyes. Her illustrations have the quality of 90’s era Disney animation. It’s such a shame that the story, as charming as it is, doesn’t match the sumptuous art. Still, very young children will no doubt find the story briefly delightful.
WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY / AUTHORS: HENRY HERZ, JOSH HERZ, HARRISON HERZ / ILLUSTRATOR: ABIGAIL LARSON / PUBLISHER: PELICAN PUBLISHING COMPANY / RELEASE DATE: 1ST FEBRUARY