I began as a tiny spark
all alone in the dry grass.
‘Let’s play,’ said the wind.
‘Okay,’ I replied.
The wind whistled and gently picked me up.
Spark is the story of a wild fire, told from the perspective of elemental fire. It begins as a spark, and in answer to a question from the wind, the two begin to play. The ‘play’ escalates as the fire and wind race across the land until the fire acknowledges the destruction and wants to end the game. The wind continues until together, they turn on their path and witness the cost of the play. Illustrations are painted and progress from summer sunny through bright flame to black and greys to finish with the tiniest glimmer of colour. Text is hand-drawn by illustrator Andrew Plant. Image frames grow with the intensity of the fire and retreat as it does. Image frames set in smoky pages.
Spark is the story of the consequences of a single careless incident. There’s a sense of menace from the front cover on, hands-over-the-eyes please-don’t-let-this-happen inevitability. What starts small quickly builds out of control, with no time to see the damage. Bit like bullying really. Suggested reading age is pre-school but it will have applications well beyond preschool, particularly in the classroom. Illustrations provide the opportunity to search out beetles, ants and larger animals as fire chases all before it. Recommended for early primary and for inclusion in discussions about both fire and bullying.
Spark, Adam Wallace and Andrew Plant
Ford Street Publishing 2016
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller