The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip
When I first read this children’s book, I was desperate to give it to everyone I knew- first my flatmate, then my parents. In fact, I wanted to have kids so I could share it with them about ten years later (it‘s still waiting patiently on my shelf for that moment).
The story, beautifully illustrated in soft but radiant colours by Lane Smith, is the story of Capable, a small overalls-clad girl who lives in a neighbourhood of eccentric, difficult and self-centred oddballs who can’t see beyond their own front yards. Even her father hasn’t been the same since her mother died, and spends more time trying to change the things he can’t (the rising of the sun, the colour of his food) rather than paying attention to his self-sufficient and stoical daughter.
When the gappers (these, by the way, are extremely dense multi-eyed spiky creatures) overwhelm Capable by besieging her little family‘s goats, constructive help from the neighbours is in short supply, but once she finds a solution she’s much happier to share it with them in order to save them from crisis. A complete delight from start to finish, tempered with gentle satire and wild leaps of imagination, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip is a brilliant attack on our delusions of social Darwinism (we’re successful and happy because we deserve to be) and a lesson in how the determined actions of one individual can transform a world.