Book review

Arthur and the Minimoys by Luc Besson (2002)

Part one of the Minimoys adventure

Minimoys? They're little people. And they live in Arthur's back garden, though he doesn't realize it to begin with. He's read all about them in his Grandpa's notebooks, about how they're only three quarters of an inch tall, and how they live side by side in Africa with the Bogo-Matassalai tribe, who are all over seven feet tall:

Arthur was fascinated. He turned the page and his gaze fell on a tiny creature that made his heart do a somersault. Two large blue eyes under a rebellious red fringe stared back at him with a look that was as mischievous as a young fox, and a small smile that could melt even the hardest heart.

Arthur's fallen in love, it seems, with the Princess Selenia, daughter of the king of the Minimoys.

Now, how can Arthur ever hope to visit the Minimoys and meet with Princess Selenia? That's a secret that Arthur's Grandpa had sought from the Bogo-Matassalai:

'And...they gave it to him?' he asked, as nonchantly as possible, although he felt as if the answer could change his life.
'I never found out,' Grandma answered.

And nor is she likely to find out now because Grandpa has gone missing. Actually, he's been missing for four years. The strange thing is, Grandpa was in the garden when he disappeared. One night he was out there with his telescope, observing the stars, and next morning, both he and the telescope were gone.

Strange goings-on, wouldn't you say?

'I would like to find the Minimoys, too,' he added, pulling the blanket right up to his chin. 'If Grandpa returns some day, do you think he will tell me the secret?'

As it happens, Arthur has a problem and he needs to find the Minimoys very quickly, and he can't wait around for Grandpa to come back to tell him the secret. If you want to find out what the problem is you'll have to read the book. And if you want to find out what the secret of the Minimoys is you'll have to work it out along with Arthur. But luckily for all of us, Grandpa didn't go anywhere without leaving a clue, and fortunately Arthur is smart enough to spot it.

Lots of action in this story. Written by a film director it is certainly full of lively visual images and will no doubt make a great film. But films are different from books. When you are reading you have plenty of time to think about the details of what happens and why the characters are doing the things that they do. Sometimes here I felt I had to accept what the characters were doing without really being let into the secret of why.

A fun read though. Read it for yourself and see.

What can I read next?

This story is split over two books so you will need to read them in sequence:

  • Arthur and the Minimoys
  • Arthur and the Forbidden City

If you enjoy meeting little people perhaps you should have a look at the classic by Mary Norton:

Or the exciting Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi:

  • The Field Guide
  • The Seeing Stone
  • Lucinda's Secret
  • The Ironwood Tree
  • The Wrath of Mulgarath

Or perhaps this rather spooky one by Ian Ogilvy:

Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:

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