This is the second half of Emma Yarlett's thoughtful interview with us, in which she discusses her own history with fairy tales, how she went about selecting the fairy tales showcased in Nibbles, and what kinds of books she'd most like to nibble, given the chance.
If you'd like more information about Nibbles, including content, aging, pricing and more, take a look at our Nibbles product information sheet. Find part one of our interview here.
Emma Yarlett: As a nineties child, many of my favourite fairytales come from watching Disney videos on repeat. Cinderella, Snow White and Peter Pan are the ones that immediately jump to my mind.
In Cinderella I love the concept of rising from the ashes and fulfilling your destiny. It’s a brilliant theme, and I especially like the idea that love transcends all things: circumstance, hierarchy, society, oppression. I also really like the bit in the Disney film when the Mice make Cinderella’s dress.
Snow White carries similar core principles, although it feels a little darker in theme and content. In this fairytale I really enjoy the relationship between the dwarves and Snow White. The community spirit and care for both one another and nature are the things that really stand out to me.
And Peter Pan… I love, love, love this story. The initial setting in London, the idea of being able to fly, fairies, pirates, mermaids, Neverland… Everything about this story is magical and fantastical. Peter Pan is beyond a doubt my absolutely tip top favourite fairytale.
The choices of my favourite fairytales might be considered slightly odd, especially considering none of them appear in Nibbles the Book Monster. But let me explain why none of these made the cut…
When the story concept of ‘a little monster called Nibbles nibbling his way into and through books’ first came into being, the immediate thought for his chosen nibbley book dish was fairytales. This was partly because I like fairytales, partly because they are well-known enough for most children to be able to engage with, understand and know and in part because (and this is the very boring reason) fairytales are generally out of copyright…which means writing a book with them in it isn’t an issue.
However, this said, not all fairytales are universal nor well liked in other countries. And so the fairytales we picked in the book had to be famous worldwide and also accessible to children the world over… slimming the choices right down.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears was an immediate and obvious choice. Although I personally do not especially like the story (I could never get past the silliness and selfishness of Goldilocks), it gave me some very famous and well-knows phrases to play with and interrupt, whilst also giving me the chance to redeem Goldilocks a tad from her selfish path…by having a monster wreak the majority of the havoc in her story, rather than herself. The second choice of Little Red Riding Hood again was another obvious choice. It has always had a very gothic feel to it in my mind, and I wished to do one of the ‘mini books’ in a black and white (with one additional colour) colour palette. This fitted the bill and I could sense that having the bright yellow little fluff pot that is Nibbles wandering into a gothic landscape could look really interesting. Funnily enough, I’ve never really liked Little Red as a character that much as I could never get past her silliness either (how could one mistake a wolf for one’s grandma?!?), and so in a strange way it felt quite fun to have Nibbles stealing her limelight and pushing her aside.
Now the third fairytale was a difficult pick. I really would have loved to have put in one of my favourite fairytales… but unfortunately none of them quite fit the bill. They were still in copyright or didn’t have a strong enough hook for Nibbles to interfere. We did initially have Nibbles interrupting Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by having him appear as an eighth dwarf, but it didn’t have a strong story ending. We also trialled The Three Little Pigs for a long time, and it very nearly made it through into the final book… But again it felt as though it was missing something.
If you were to spend a day as Nibbles, what genre of books would you most likely devour? Is there any book you would have the most fun disrupting?
EY: I would LOVE to disrupt history and huge historical moments such as the moon landing! “That’s one more step for… NIBBLES!” I think it would be the most fun and would also be so super to meet some truly iconic historical characters! However, I think the ultimate book I would like to have a munch on would have to be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory… for… well, fairly obvious reasons!