In Five Little Fiends, five creatures live in their own little statues on a faraway plain, but they would often come out to marvel at their beautiful surroundings.
That is until one day, they decide to go one step further and claim for themselves what they each love the most: the sun, the sky, the moon, the land and the sea. Instead of enjoying their spoils, however, the five fiends soon realise that everything is connected, and that the individual elements cannot function in isolation.
At once strange yet not unfamiliar, the red-skinned fiends and their stone statues are analogous to how people metaphorically put themselves on pedestals — like the statues — when they try to justify their selfish actions without considering the consequences.
Despite its somewhat-heavy moral about the dangers of greed and the related ecological subtext, the text is refreshingly simple and un-didactic. Meanwhile, the illustrations are imaginative and evocative: in particular, the fiends’ beautiful environment is reimagined to two dimensions when they are taking it apart, like the backdrop of a stage set — apt, considering that the best of nature often looks like a beautiful painting.
The saying ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ rings true when all is well once everything is restored to its proper order.