Publications reviews

“Little Boy and Mr Scary Snake”

Review of Little Boy and Mr. Scary Snake


Clarion Rating: 

Stars: 4 out of 5

"D. A-Gravill has written an important book for children and parents. The excellence of Little Boy and Mr. Scary Snake lies in the simple, expansive, open-to-interpretation nature of its story.

Little Boy and Mr. Scary Snake tells the tale of a young boy whose age is unspecified and name unexplained. His single mother owns a pet snake that lives in her bedroom, which everyone believes to be harmless—everyone except Little Boy. Every night the snake slides into Little Boy’s room and frightens him, and the distraught child tells adult after adult what’s happening to no avail. Finally, someone believes him and helps him overcome his problem.

D. A-Gravill was born in Bologna, Italy, and now studies children’s counseling and English literature in London. Her studies have borne fruit. Little Boy and Mr. Scary Snake, her first book, aims to help people of all ages better understand and address the unique fears and problems of children.

On its surface, the story might seem to indicate an abuse scenario—with the snake, trusted by Little Boy’s mother, sneaking into the bedroom at night. But with its characters generically named (Miss Sweet, Miss Caring, Constable Wise) and the snake’s specific actions described in a very broad way, Mr. Scary Snake’s threat could echo that of a bully, a bad influence, or some less obvious problem.

“‘We have much mischief to do, and I have much to teach you,’ said Mr. Scary Snake. ‘If you try to tell anyone about me, no one will believe you!’”

Developed as a therapeutic tool, Little Boy and Mr. Scary Snake offers brief sections designed as an interactive tool to help children relate to the story and its lessons. For example, “Why is Little Boy afraid to tell the nice bobby about Mr. Scary Snake?”

One negative is that American readers, especially children, might require explanation of several terms and situations used in the text, such as Little Boy calling his mother “Mummy,” “bobby” for a policeman, and being served dinner at school. 

Despite the need for explanations, the story addresses issues that transcend cultural differences. With its clear and colorful illustrations, a difficult topic is handled with simple and straightforward language. Little Boy and Mr. Scary Snakewill prove a valuable addition to any child’s library."

Reviewed by Peter Dabbene
March 15, 2013

“Little Boy and Mr Scary Snake”

Blueink Review of Little Boy and Mr. Scary Snake

(See link below)

Blueink Review

Reviewed: March, 2013

This children’s picture book, Little Boy and Mr. Scary Snake is an allegorical tale meant to help children open up to adults about their own fears, and to remind adults to listen seriously to their children.

Little Boy lives with his mother and her pet snake. All is well in Little Boy’s life until Mr. Snake begins to come into Little Boy’s room late at night “and do scary things.” The snake says that no one will believe Little Boy if he tries to tell them about Mr. Snake’s behavior.

Also available as an ebook.

 "An African Abroad: The Memoirs of la Mora Data" Independent Review of Aurora Mizutani's "An African Abroad", by Reedsy Discovery (See link below)

Stars: 4 out of 5 

Ijaz Khan – Sure, I'd be pleased to provide "An African Abroad" by D. A-Gravill a review. 

A personal narrative and travelogue titled "An African Abroad" follows the author's experiences as a young Nigerian woman who leaves her home country to tour the globe. 

The author relates her experiences with sharp remarks, frank humor, and thoughtful reflections. Anyone interested in travel, cultural exploration, or self-exploration should read this book. 

You will be motivated by the author's experiences to step outside of your comfort zone and welcome life's unexpected turns. 

The author provides insightful information about the difficulties and opportunities faced by Africans in the global society by discussing her journey.  "An African Abroad" is a compelling memoir overall.

 "An African Abroad: The Memoirs of la Mora Data"

Independent Review of Aurora Mizutani's "An African Abroad", by Reedsy Discovery 

(See link below)

Stars: 2 out of 5

“… yet the author comes through as being a strong character who has survived, and sometimes thrived, against some very uneven odds.”

 "Children of the Cult" 

Independent Review of Aurora Mizutani's "Children of the Cult", by Reedsy Discovery 

(See link below)

Stars: 4 out of 5 

“Children of the Cult”, Aurora Mizutani’s latest anthology of short stories.

In Children of the Cult, Aurora Mizutani breathes life into true stories, gathering them from across the world. 

The common thread that cuts across these stories is ‘cultism’, which Mizutani delves into in depth in the beginning. 

The first story, ESOTERISM IN MUNICH, exposes the devasting effect of cultism as experienced by Gianni, an Italian man living in Germany, where he meets his wife. 

In THE ROBBERY, the plan to rob a jewelry store is afoot, except there’s a newly installed alarm whose location only the store manager, Paul Carson, knows. 

In SAMANTHA, girls are held captive by a man named Yosef, subjected to the most inhuman conditions and what’s more, Josef is lining his pockets with cash at their expense. 

Who will save these girls? 

Plights of girls aside, there’s Mitsugu, a Japanese man rejected by his country but embraced in London. 

As captured in MITSUGU LOST IN LONDON, Mitsugu becomes a persona non grata due to his lifestyle.

Mizutani has made this book quite an adventure for readers with her simple and easy-to-understand prose. 

The introduction part is very informative. In a broader sense, Mizutani redefines the word ‘cult’, emphasizing the correlation between ‘culture’ and ‘cult’. 

According to Mizutani, a cult leader could be anyone, so long as they possess “characteristics that enable them to lead cults due to their unyielding and unscrupulous nature."

Other than cultism, Mizutani also delves into the effects of divorce on children and childhood trauma, as detailed in the story VICKY, and the evil deeds happening in the strip bars, as captured in THE DANISH CLUB OWNERS.

After reading this book, readers will realize cult leaders and cultism are everywhere, even in our family, as demonstrated by some of the stories here, notably CINDY’S DAUGHTER, YOSHINORI’S WIFE, and LAURA’S MOTHER.

In conclusion, Children of the Cult by Aurora Mizutani is a wonderfully written short story collection that is very appropriate for adult readers.