The boy spied a falling feather
He climbed to the top of a craggy mountain and caught it.
It was soft and smooth on his grimy chief.
When the sun rises on a crisp,cloudy day a sandpiper knows it is time to leave, so it takes flight, heading for warmer climes. First though, on its long journey, it flies over scenes of destruction and hardship – an earthquake, a war zone and a flood. In each place,a feather falls to earth, offering hope to a child below. Finally, as the bird reaches safety near Mia’s house, it drops one last feather. When Mia catches it, she feels lucky. The reader, who has seen the hardships faced by the other children, is particularly aware of how lucky Mia is.
Feathers is a beautiful picture book, on the surface tracing the story of a bird’s migration but, at the same time, exploring the differing fortunes of children across the globe. The theme of hope, symbolised by the bird’s feathers, is demonstrated with exquisite simplicity in both the text and in the outstanding watercolour,pencil and gouache illustrations.
Feathers , by PhilCummings andPhilLesnie
By day she would look out for the still ones, the quiet ones, those who danced and sighed and dreamed alone.
And at home, her head full of their stories, Adelaide would work into the night, taking a little bit of the world and making it her own.
But there was always something missing.
Adelaide lives alone in a shop that was once bustling and lively. She observes the world around her, and in particular the lonely people who inhabit it. She makes art from what she sees, but her quiet life is missing something. An unexpected encounter with Fox, who she has observed, but who has also been observing her, leads her to put herself outside her comfort zone, transforming not just her own world, but the lives of the other lonely people around her.
Adelaide’s Secret World is a magical, richly wrought picture book. Rabbit Adelaide lives in a world inhabited both by humans and by a wonderful array of animal characters. Readers of all ages will enjoy discovering the fantastical elements – flying fish, a boat sailing through the sky, a bear and a goose sheltering together under a tree, a lion dancing with a human, and much more.
The story is gentle and minimal, so that readers can interpret and ponder during – and long after – reading. The art is simply divine, again with much to ponder.
Suitable for all ages.
Adelaide’s Secret World, by Elise Hurst
Allen & Unwin, 2015
Mr Hooper’s cat was not like any ordinary cat. For a start, his face was the shape of a heart. Most amazing of all, and unlike any other cat in the world, Mr Hooper’s cat had a tail that could change colour.
Mr Hooper and his cat are an amazing pair. For a start, Mr Hooper has an icecream van which looks like a full moon, and dispenses ice creams – or “Moon-creams” – in any flavour imaginable. When The Cat With the Coloured Tail finds someone who is unhappy or in need of help, the colour of his tail changes and tells Mr Hooper just what flavour ice cream is needed.
Their relationship, too, is special. They travel together, revelling in each other’s company, singing and searching for heart-shapes in the world around them. But when the cat’s tail starts to turn black and he senses that something terrible is going to happen, things look grim. The heart of the world is suffering, and it may take all of the cat’s strength to fix it.
The Cat with the Coloured Tail is a moving, whimsical fable about the power of hope and of love. Readers of all ages will love the mysterious, joyful cat and his kindly companion, and the joy they bring each other and those they meet. Their adventure, which becomes a quest to save the heart of the world, is in turns frightening, sad, and uplifting.
In hardcover format with gently coloured pencil illustrations, the beautiful design of the book perfectly complements the story it contains.
The Cat with the Coloured Tail, by Gillian Mears, illustrated by Dinalie Dabarera
Walker Books, 2015