Absolute Mayhem, by Kelly Suellentrop, is a gloriously illustrated children’s book that celebrates the joy of imagination.
It follows two young children, Lulu and Milo, as they work their way through a week of school, chores and rules. This dull life is illustrated in black and white with just the tentacles of colourful daydreams teasing on the periphery of each page.
It is at the weekend that the children’s days (and the book’s illustrations) become full of colour as they transform into pirates, royalty, intrepid explorers and rock stars. Toys come to life and their environment undergoes a metamorphosis, becoming whatever suitable setting is required for their games.
The illustrations are entertaining and appealing with plenty of little details to generate interest and discussion. I particularly liked the inclusion of the pet dog on every double page spread, and searching out the aspects of the black and white illustrations that took on new life when exploded into the colour of the children’s play.
There are lessons to be learned throughout the book but these are subtle. The cadence of the rhyming text and some of the words used may be a challenge to younger readers, but this is a fun story for an adult to enjoy with their child. It is the mayhem of a happy childhood and one that parents can approve.