Miss Van Zanten and the Seven Robbers
A band of rowdy robbers lies in ambush, waiting to attack the stagecoach. ‘“Hey! Men!” cried Berend. “Draw your pistols, quick! / Here’s the stagecoach, packed with cash and gold!” / Oh dear, they don’t know who’s inside. / If only they’d been told…’ Inside the coach is none other than Miss Van Zanten, a parenting expert who is determined to teach the motley crew some manners.
With her infectious sense of humour, Mathilde Stein has written a crazy rhyming ballad, whose quirkiness is reminiscent of the work of Annie M.G. Schmidt. But the robbers don’t take it lying down and they succeed in turning this respectable lady into a great robber. Stein aims for exactly the same cheerful undermining of authority that made Schmidt so popular with her young readers.
Dorine de Vos, the art director responsible for the design of Rotterdam’s famous Hotel New York, illustrated this picture book with its chaotic, anarchic drawings in a colourful child-like style; her bristly baddies’ faces look mischievous rather than dangerous. And so the deliberate inelegance of the illustrations is a perfect match for the unconventional text.