Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Budgie written and illustrated by Steven Woolman

Easy Fiction Treasure

Lou finds a lost budgie in her garden. She brings him inside because he is hurt. Over time Lou and her little budgie become the best of friends but then one day he escapes out the back door. Lou whistles around the neighborhood. She makes a flyer but it seems her little friend is lost forever until one day a lady arrives with a box. Inside there is a budgie but is he really the one Lou lost?

Budgie is a simple story and it is easy to read but it packs a strong emotional punch. It is easy to relate to Lou and to sympathize with her love of this little bird and the tremendous loss she feels when he is gone. I love junior novels that include this extra depth packaged in simple language, a larger font and perfect illustrations.

Budgie is from the Solo series. I was looking for a book to share with some of my reading students. We read a NSW School magazine article about keeping budgerigars as pets. I started our session by sharing my favourite Bob Graham title - Pete and Roland

Next week we will take a look at Budgie. Just as I was preparing to use these books with my reading group a wonderful item appeared in our Sydney Morning Herald showcasing the photography of Leila Jeffreys.  When I saw this photo I knew it would be the perfect way to introduce this activity.
Image source:  Sydney Morning Herald

Solos are a fabulous series for newly independent readers. I especially love Hot Stuff, Green Fingers and Sticky Stuff.

Steven Woolman was an exceptionally talented Australia illustrator. He sadly died in 2004. The most striking aspect of his illustrations were the variety of styles he used. Here are some of his books:

CBCA Picture book of the Year, 1995 The judges described it as a book of “landmark significance [which] breaks new ground in its unity of text, picture and book design.

I love to read this book aloud to Grade 4 - it is a book with a powerful story and it uses a very rich vocabulary. The mystery of Caleb's identity will keep your listeners guessing right to the end.

This book is essential reading especially now as we focus on global warming and young activists such as Greta Thuberg.  This illustrations in this book are spectacular. They are based around the idea of pieces of stained glass.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Stanza by Jill Esbaum illustrated by Jack E Davis

Tuesday Treasure

"Stanza prowled through the streets ... "  "Folks called him 'Bad doggy!" and other awful names. Stanza may have looked like his rotten brothers - Dirge and Fresco - but looks can be deceiving. At night, out of sight, Stanza liked to write poems.  He wrote about snow, birds and the nearby fire hydrant. He wrote haiku, and sonnets but he worried that one day his brothers might discover his secret passion.

One day, while Stanza is "ripping through town, nipping bottoms and knocking pedestrians down in his usual reckless, unmannerly way" he spies a poster.  Snappers (we discover later this is a brand of dog food that tastes like chicken pot pie) need four rhyming lines for their advertising. The prize is cash.  Stanza is so excited and "his paw fairly tingled just itching to write." Stanza spends the whole night writing his jingle. Finally, after a long wait, the winners are announced. Oh no, Stanza came second and to make matters worse his jingle is on display for anyone to see - including his brothers. Stanza arrives home to find them destroying all his work.

Luckily second prize arrives - a truck load of Snappers. Stanza is happy to share his prize but there is a condition. His brothers have to show off their talents - painting and jazz piano. A wild evening of celebration makes for a happy ending. Make sure you check out the tee-shirts worn by Dirge and Fresco and of course the name 'stanza' is perfect for our poet hero.

Snappers! make my tummy happy,
make my paws go tippy-tappy.
Chewy morsels! Crunchy bits!
Life without them is the pits.
by Stanza

Here is a list of books by Jill Esbaum.  Jill is also the author of some excellent non fiction titles many of which are in our school library. Here are a set of teaching notes.

Here are some of the interesting words used in this book: prowled, scoundrel, haiku, sonnets, stanza, merciless, flabbergasteded,  astounded, dirge, fresco, jeers, exceedingly, boogied, dumbfounded

Here are a few discussion questions:

Why does Stanza keep his talent a secret?
Why did Stanza bully people like his brothers did?
Do you think Stanza was proud of getting second place? Why or why not?

This book is great example of the way text and illustrations should work together. The real energy of this story comes from the wild pictures. Stanza was published in 2009 and it was sadly recently culled from my former school library. If you find a copy in a library or a book sale grab it with both hands - this is a book to treasure.

Here are some other books illustrated by Jack E Davis:

Stanza is the perfect spokesperson for National Poetry Month. He represents all those closet poets who are afraid to strut their stuff for fear of being ostracized or ridiculed.  Jama's Alphabet Soup

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Impossible Boy by Ben Brooks

Oleg and Emma were part of a group of three friends but one day Sarah Tuppet moved away. The pair feel incomplete. After all there are three blind mice, three little pigs and three bears. So Oleg and Emma play a game where they invent a friend. When a substitute teacher arrives in their class it seems like the perfect time to introduce a new classmate. The teacher sets the usual writing task to "write a short report introducing themselves and detailing what they'd done during the sub-zero weekend that had just come to an end."

On a fresh piece of paper, Sebastian Cole, their new invented friend, writes his report. He describes his fabulous weekend travelling by boat to Australia, then on to China by plane. Sebastian explains he is very wealthy because his great grandfather was the inventor of the cheese grater. Finally Sebastian describes the snake that attacked his mother on the weekend and explains he was able to thwart the snake using a baguette. Surely no teacher could possibly believe all this nonsense?

Now that the teacher thinks there is a student called Sebastian Cole in the class, Oleg and Emma decide it's important to add his name to the class register. Then they fill out a history test in his name with utterly crazy answers but it is the next impossible thing that will stun you. Oleg and Emma have a hidden den in a remote part of the playground. They head there at the end of the school day and meet - have you guessed? Yes they meet Sebastian Cole!

"And out stepped a boy, dressed in a long coat with an even longer scarf wound around his neck. On his feet, he wore old boots splattered with mud and in his left hand he held a rucksack that looked as though it had once belonged to a painter. His socks were odd, his hair stood on end, and his cheeks were smeared with dirt. He smiled."

From here this tale takes so many twists and turns. Sebastian joins their class. The teacher praises his history test answers. Living snowmen (women) start appearing in odd places and live goats seem to be spreading around the school. The school groundsman warns the children the arrival of Sebastian is dangerous. He talks about falling dominoes.  "One tiny change can trigger a thousand larger changes. One impossible thing can lead to an impossible world."

Then there are the sinister authority figures who are on the hunt for Sebastian. It seems they will stop at nothing to capture him. But why do they want Sebastian Cole?

There are supernatural aspects to this story such as Sebastian's rocket. It reminded me of the Doctor Who Tardis There are utterly hilarious moments. My favourite is when the groundskeeper mentions dominoes and the children think he means pizza! There are moments of chaos especially when the whole of class 6Y work together to protect Sebastian and they lock all the teachers in a giant cupboard.  "It was agreed that for ten minutes they could make the most of it ... The lunch boxes of kids with notoriously generous parents were looted. Various unidentified powders and liquids were mixed in flasks held over Bunsen burners."

The best part of this whole story, though, is the way Ben Brooks weaves in the poignant back stories of Oleg and Emma.

Emma's mother is stuggling to pay her bills.
"The way they'd moved from poor to very poor was mum taking out a loan and then another loan to pay off that loan and then another loan to pay off that loan and by now you're probably starting to understand what happened."

Oleg lives with his dad and grandmother. His grandmother is a writer and she becomes a true hero of this story but his dad has retreated in to sleep. He no longer talks to Oleg. He no longer cooks. He is clearing suffering but Oleg has no idea how to help him.

"He still held out hope that one day his dad would blink awake and offer to walk him to school. Or he might even suggest that they skip school altogether and spend the day fishing at the carp pond or eating cereal out of the packet, like they used to. Oleg missed his old dad and was afraid of the new dad that had taken his place."

Reading The Impossible Boy I found myself marveling at the power of imagination. The imagination of the children in the story is terrific but more importantly I marvel at the imagination of Ben Brooks. I loved the wild adventure of this story and the way all the plot threads were neatly resolved at the end. This book will be available on 29th October.

One more thing - if you see two friends gently tapping each others foreheads you will know they have both read (and loved) The Impossible Boy.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Texas Book Festival Australian Children's Picture book showcase

In just over a week I will be speaking at the Texas Book Festival. My topic is:

"Children’s literature and literacy leaders from around the world will give us a glimpse of book trends that are happening in their countries" 

I will represent IBBY Australia.

The IBBY speakers will come from China, Russia, Mexico, Canada and USA along with the executive director of IBBY from Switzerland.

USBBY are holding their conference in Austin Texas. I have talked about the speakers at this conference in a earlier post.

I thought I would share the books I plan to showcase along with some links to the author and illustrator web sites, details of any prizes won by these books and other relevant information. I have organised my presentation under five headings.

An Indigenous Perspective

Bronwyn Bancroft has illustrated over 40 books. I especially love Colours of Australia and Patterns of Australia.  Bronwyn was our IBBY Australia Hans Christian Andersen award Nominee in 2016. Possum and Wattle is an alphabet book with over 100 words. There is a glossary at the back which explains some of the uniquely Australian plants, animals and landscapes.

Wilam: a Birrabung Story is our IBBY Australia Honour Book for 2020. Listen to this radio interview on ABC Radio National with Andrew Kelly. The word Wilam means home. This book is the story of the Yarra River in Victoria. You could use this book in your discussions about the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

The language is poetic and beautiful, while each double-page spread is a breathtaking work of art as Lisa Kennedy's rich and vibrant strokes breathe the life and colour of the river onto the pages. Kids Book Review

Little Bird's Little Day illustrator, Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr was the winner of the Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award.   Here is a set of teachers notes for this book.

Baby Business is a very new title. Here is an audio interview with the author. Read this review for more details about the author and to see some illustrations from this book. Here is a set of teaching notes for using this book with a preschool group.

Our Unique Landscape

In 1990 Phil Cummings visited my rural school library. It is one of the very best author visits I ever hosted. Phil has written so many wonderful books including Newspaper Hats; Marty and Mei Ling; Feathers; Anzac Biscuits; Touch the Moon and Boy. Andrew McLean is one of our treasured Australian illustrators. I especially love Fabish the horse that braved a bushfire. Several of his books have won or been honoured by our Children's Book Council - Highway by Nadia Wheatley; My Dog by John Heffernan; A Year on our Farm by Penny Matthews; Reggie Queen of the Street by Margaret Barbalet; and Hector and Maggie written with his wife Janet. Take a look at my review of the Squeak Street series by Emily Rodda. Here is a Reading Time review of Through the Smoke.

Jackie French is the author of over 200 books.  She writes for adults, young adults and children. Take a look at my review of Just a Girl. In this review I mention one of her earlier books which is a personal favourite -  Tajore Arkle. Flood is one book in a set of four titles by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley. The other titles are Drought, Cyclone and Fire. Bruce Whatley has written and illustrated over 80 books. You can read his thoughts about illustrating Flood here.

Take a look at my review of Banjo and Ruby Red. Libby Gleeson is the IBBY Australia Hans Christian Andersen nominee for 2020.  You can read more about Libby Gleeson.

Take a look at my review of Mallee Sky. I predict this title will make our CBCA short list for 2020.

When it rains up north the desert lake (Lake Eyre) in central Australia fills with water and everything changes. Read this review of Desert Lake.

Flora and Fauna

Jeannie Baker is famous for her amazing collage illustrations. Her books are made with passion and they take years to produce. In The Story of Rosy Dock, Jeannie wanted to highlight the problems associated with introduced species. In the different environment of Australia this plant has become a noxious weed. You can see the whole book here. Jeannie Baker has written 14 picture books and one book about the art of collage - Playing with Collage. She was the IBBY Australia Hans Christian Andersen nominee in 2018. You can read more about the plant rosy dock here.

I wanted to include books about Australia animals in my presentation. We have so many interesting and unique animals here in Australia - kangaroo, emu, echidna, wombat, dingo, bilby, lyrebird, platypus, quoll, and the koala. In this story many new babies are born and Koala Lou feels displaced. How can she win back the affection of her mother? You can see all of the illustrations by Pamela lofts on this video. Mem Fox is one of the most famous Australian children's writers. Her book Possum Magic (1983) can be read by children in French, German, Spanish, and sixteen other languages.

Dingo is one title from the Nature Storybooks series published by Walker Books. Other titles include Gecko, Emu, Bilby Secrets, Big Red Kangaroo and Searching for Cicadas. Claire Saxby as written 18 books. Her newest title Kookaburra (illustrated by Tanya Harricks) will be published in 2020. Dingo was joint winner of the NSW Premier's Literary Award (Patricia Wrightson Award) in 2019. Each pages in Dingo combine narrative elements with a factual text presented in different font. Here is a review from Reading Time.

Sue whiting is the author of 18 books ranging from non fiction to picture books and YA novels to beginning chapter books. Platypus is also from the Nature Storybooks series published by Walker Books. Here is the Kirkus review. Read more about Mark Jackson here.

Here is a set of Teachers Notes for Kookoo Kookaburra. In addition to Kookoo Kookaburra, Gregg Dreise has written Silly Birds; Mad Magpie; and Cunning Crow. Here is a very detailed review of Kookoo Kookaburra by Dr Sam Lloyd for Children's Books Daily.

Multicultural Society

Take a look at my review of Mirror. I have talked about Jeannie Baker earlier in this post when I mentioned The Story of Rosy Dock.  In 1990 Jeannie's book Where the Forest Meets the Sea was the IBBY Australia Honour book:

A father takes his son by boat to a place where trees have grown for millions of years. It is a remote place near a coral reef with few visitors. While the father relaxes, the son explores the rainforest. His father’s remark that the forest has been here for over a hundred million years resonates with the boy. As he wanders the boy pretends that it is long ago when dinosaurs lived and aboriginal forest children played amongst the ancient trees. He takes time to sit still and listen to the sounds of the forest and marvel at the size of the majestic trees wondering how long each took to grow from a tiny seedling. Sadly the day ends too quickly as does the boys reverie. “But will the forest still be here when we come back?”

This is the second book I have included on my list by Mem Fox. Take a look at my section on Koala Lou. You can see a video of the whole book here.  Mem Fox explains the inspiration for her book. Here is a set of Teachers Notes.

Take a look at my review of Sarah's Two Nativities.

Bob Graham was our IBBY Australia Hans Christian Andersen nominee in 2012.  He has written and illustrated some of my most favourite books and his work is regularly short listed for our CBCA book awards. Read more about Bob Graham here. Some books I have mentioned on this blog are Rose Meets Mr Wintergarten; Home in the Rain; and Let's get a Pup.  Read more about A Bus called Heaven in this Horn Book review. I was also excited to discover A Bus Called Heaven received a Star review from Kirkus. My review of A bus called Heaven includes links to reviews and teachers notes.

You can see a video reading of the whole book here. Freya Blackwood illustrated our IBBY Australia Honour book Banjo and Ruby Red (see above.)  In their star review Kirkus described My Two Blankets:

"Loneliness, cultural displacement, tentative friendship, and an explosion of sharing and kindness are accessible even to very young readers. The final image of Cartwheel teaching her friend how do a cartwheel tugs at the heart with joy. An amazingly lovely import from Australia."

Universal Themes

This book celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is very special to see this collaboration between UK Author Nicola Davies and the Australian illustrator Marc Martin. Here is a review with more details. This book could be read in conjunction with other books about the rights of the child such as For Every Child; I have the right to be a child; We are all born free; and A Children's Chorus (1989).

Take a look at my review of Leaf Stone Beetle.  Ursula Dubosarsky was our IBBY Australia Hans Christian Andersen nominee in 2016. Dirt Lane Press is a new publisher in Australia. Here is a quote from their web site:

"We also know adults find deep emotional and intellectual satisfaction from the deceptively simple form of a picture book. A picture book can encapsulate an idea, a theme, or a grand concern within a few well-chosen words and a relatively brief sequence of illustrations. A well-crafted picture book is as succinct as a poem."

Take a look at my review of Somewhere Else. You can see other books by Gus Gordon on his web site. Take a look at my review of Herman and Rosie; and Wendy. His newest book The Perfect Seat by Minh Le will be available early in 2020 and July will see the arrival of Finding Francois: a story about the healing power of friendship.

"Through the charred forest, over hot ash, runs Dog with a bird clamped in his big gentle mouth. He takes her to his cave above the river and there he tries to tend her burnt wing."
IBBY president Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright has written a detailed essay about Fox and the creators Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks. Here are a set of teachers notes for Fox. Read my review of Fox.

Take a look at my review of Teacup. Matt Ottley is the illustrator of 28 books including Suri's Wall by Lucy Estela; and Tree by Danny Parker.   His newest book is Dumazi and the Big Yellow Lion by Valanga Khoza. Read more about Rebecca Young here.

Puffling (illustrated by Julie Vivas), also by Margaret Wild and Lucy Goosey are one of my most favourite books to read aloud to the youngest children. Margaret Wild is the author of over 45 books. Ann James is our IBBY Australia Hans Christian Andersen 2020 nominee. Lucy Goosey does want to leave her pond - an environment where she feels safe. The idea of flying away with the geese as they migrate, is terrifying. Her mother does fly away but then she comes back and she asks Lucy about her fears. Listening to each concern she is able to gently reassure Lucy that she will be safe. The themes of growing up, risk taking and love are perfect for young listeners.

A bus called Heaven by Bob Graham

"Abandoned. The bus appeared one morning from a sea of traffic - right outside Stella's house, where no bus should be. Tired, old and sick, it had a hand-painted sign on it, held down with packing tape. The sign said, 'Heaven'."

An old bus is left in the street. The authorities arrive and place a large "abandoned" sticker across the windscreen. The bus is in Stella's street. This tiny girl has big ideas. She tells everyone this bus is "ours!" Everyone joins together and they push the bus off the road and onto Stella's front garden. Dad can see the problem.  "There are regulations." But Stella has her own regulations. The bus settles into it's new environment. Weeds grow around the wheels, snails make trails and a pair of sparrow make their nest in the old engine.

While the children play, the adults get to work, cleaning up the old bus. During the night the Ratz arrive. They plaster the bus with graffiti. This could be a problem but mum has the solution. She invites the boys back to paint the whole bus. Stella draws the design with a sun on the roof. This is the image on the front cover.

The neighbours fill the bus with all sorts of treasures. A goldfish in a tank, a set of comics, a football table game and cake.

"And Lucy lent her dog, Bear - for anyone who needed to just sit and pat something."

The inside of the bus becomes a wonderful, multicultural community space for young and old until on Saturday a tow truck arrives.  Those regulations dad warned them about have caught up with this venture.  Everyone watches in despair as their wonderful bus is towed away to the most horrible place - The Boneyard.

Once again it is Stella who saves the day. She invites the tow truck boss to challenge her in a game of table football. "If I win, we'll keep the bus."

Stella does win, they do keep the bus, it is towed to a vacant block of land behind Stella's house and the eggs laid by the pair of sparrows have now hatched - there are three new chicks - new life. Heaven is a bus. People of all faiths can share this space. It truly is heaven here on earth.

A bus called Heaven won the CBCA Picture Book of the Year award here in Australia in 2012. Here are set of detailed teaching notes. Watch a little sample from the Storybox Library.

It's in the hope, the togetherness, the warmth, the fun, the relaxed way Graham brings a multicultural melting pot of people together - an image that typifies Australia - and makes it all work so well. So touchingly. Kids Book Review

Here, when a priest, a rabbi, and an imam step onto a bus called Heaven, it’s not a joke. It’s simply the way life should be. Horn Book

Aiding the mood of merriment are Graham’s illustrations, with their sinewy black line work, delicate, peaches-and-cream colors and loving depiction of all kinds of people. Kirkus star review

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fox by Margaret Wild illustrated by Ron Brooks

"Through the charred forest, over hot ash, runs Dog with a bird clamped in his big, gentle mouth. He takes her to his cave above the river, and there he tries to tend her burnt wing."

These are the opening lines of Fox. Look at the word placement. Clamped followed by big and then the beautiful word - gentle. We immediately know so much about Dog.

But Dog has his own problems. He is blind in one eye and Magpie, with her burnt wing, will never fly again. This pair of unlikely friends need to support each other. Dog waits for Magpie to heal and then he persuades her to climb on his back. He runs swiftly to the river "so swiftly it is almost as if he were flying."

"Fly Dog, fly! I will be your missing eye, and you will be my wings."

Now comes the complication. A fox arrives. Fox with his "haunted eyes".  "He flickers though the trees like a tongue of fire."

Again look at the word placement - flickers like fire - this fox is dangerous. Fox joins the pair of friends but Magpie sees him watching her. She smells his envy and rage and loneliness. Three times Fox whispers to Magpie trying to tempt her away. He promises he can truly make her fly. Magpie is tempted. She climbs on his back but Fox has a terrible plan. He runs far away and then stops and shakes Magpie off his back.

"Now you and Dog will know what it is like to be truly alone."

Magpie is tempted to just curl up and die but then she thinks of her special friend Dog and so "slowly, jiggety-hop, she begins the long journey home."

When Ron Brooks read the three pages of this text he replied to his publisher:

"I love it! I must do it. And it will be utterly unlike anything I’ve ever done, just you wait . . . I think it’s maybe the most powerful picture book text I’ve ever read. It is a great big, fat, juicy-great novel of wonderful writing—honed down to three gloriously transcendent pages! Amazing! Biblical! I am so grateful for the opportunity this affords me to really break some barriers, new ground."

Every single thing about this book is important and powerful and wonderful. This book is one of the best picture books ever created in Australia. Here are some excellent teachers notes. Here is a preview of the Story Box Library video of Fox.

I have two personal connections to this book. Many years ago I attended a book conference in Hobart, Tasmania. There was a session with Ron Brooks. It was held in a tiny room and only a handful of people attended. Ron was very late arriving as it was the daylight saving change over weekend and he had forgotten to change his clock.  We sat in this small room and waited. Ron arrived about an hour late full of apologies. Then he picked up Fox and read it to us. I cried through the whole book. A couple of years late a close friend of mine visited Ron. She asked him to sign my copy of Fox. Ron Brooks did so much more. He wrote me a special message which I treasure and included a drawing of Magpie.

Subtle, striking, this story of friendship and betrayal is a modern day fable that will remain an Australian children’s classic. Kids Book Review

With Fox, she brings a poet’s sensibility to the writing of a mesmerising and powerful work about the elemental need for companionship in our lives. Her writing bristles with urgent action and sings with suggestive imagery; it is pared back, sometimes playful, and always emotionally resonant. In this way, it carries the very essence of what the story is about – the arcane battle between innocence and evil, kindness and cruelty, love and hate. IBBY President Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright

The Misadventures of Frederick by Ben Manley illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

Frederick seems be a 'walking disaster'.  Look closely at the front cover. I've given you a large image here to help you. His toy train is derailed, the truck has lost a wheel, he has spilled the ink bottle on his desk and poor old Teddy is flat on his back.

Meanwhile Emily is having terrific fun outside.  Here is the back cover of this book:

Before the story begins we see Frederick. He is sitting in his dark room with his crumpled bicycle. A paper aeroplane flies in through the open window.

I can see you from the forest.
You look bored.
Would you like to go for an ice cream?
My favourite flavour is chocolate.

Frederick asks his mother if he can venture outside but she reminds him of past misadventures. Frederick writes back to Emily:

My Dearest Emily,
The woodlark's melody floats across the shimmering sky.
It is with bitter regret that I inform you I may not come out to eat ice creams today, on account that I might be sick into my music box.
Sorrowfully yours,

I love this letter and the subsequent ones. The style of writing by the two children are so different.  On the first page, the one with the broken bike, Frederick is surrounded by books. I like to think that all his reading has given him this rich vocabulary and cultured turn of phrase.  Words like "bitter regret" must have come from a book surely.

Emily is not deterred. She writes again, sending another paper aeroplane, suggesting Frederick might like to climb a tree or two. Frederick Leopold Nadelbaum declines this offer again with bitter regret. "I might break both my collar bones."

And so the letters go back and forth. Emily suggests a bike ride but Frederick thinks he might graze all the skin off his bottom. Emily suggests swimming but Frederick is concerned about pneumonia. After several more letters, which are met with refusal, Emily yells through the window -

Come anyway 

Emily and Frederick have a terrific time running through the leaf filled forest. Then we turn the page and see one more letter. This final letter is from Frederick and it is sent from hospital. What has happened? Will Frederick ever be brave enough to venue out again?

Take a look at the first lines from each letter:

The woodlark's melody floats across the shimmering sky.
The finches flutter in the sycamores, startling the drowsy dormouse.
The wild rose rambles by the shady trail.
The lonely salmon makes his ragged run upstream.
The melancholy wind sighs through the golden ash.
The snow thaws on the bright mountain bringing forth the bluebell.

When Louise Pfanner showed me this book in her store Gleebooks a couple of weeks ago I knew I would love it. I have long been a huge fan of everything illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark.

A warm-hearted picture book about a special friendship in which free spirited Emily tempts anxious and pampered Frederick to brave the outdoors and enjoy some wonderful and unexpected adventures. Love Reading4Kids Julia Eccleshare

Ben's brilliantly atmospheric story works beautifully with Emma's gorgeously rich and detailed visuals to bring the story perfectly to life.  ReaditDaddy