Thursday, 15 December 2016

Fabulous Festive Reads Perfect for Christmas Part One – Foxes, Magpies and Stars

With Christmas fast approaching it is entirely feasible that you are huddled on the sofa with the kids (maybe in front of an open fire, or the very least a working radiator) and you are looking for book to read together. But as you reach for you battered copy of The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe or The Box Delights again*, don’t despair, there are new festive books out there that can be enjoyed, and here are some of our recommends of recently published ones…

The littlest Magpie and Star by Gill Hutchison and Carol Daniel

The littlest Magpie and Star is a touching story about (you guessed it) the Littlest Magpie and his aspirations to catch and own the shiniest of all shiny things a star. But stars are very high, and the Littlest Magpie has a lot to learn first, like how to fly and even more importantly patience as the wise Old Owl tells him to wait for the snow before looking for a star of his very own. When Magpie is grown and the snow lie thick, he goes on the hunt for his star, and along the way he make some unexpected friends and get given a gift of a gift of… YOU NEED TO READ IT TO FIND OUT!

The littlest Magpie and Star, is a charming story with beautiful wintery-coloured illustrations by Carol Daniel, and I guarantee it’ll bring a tear to your eye, but perhaps not so much as the story behind its publication. Inside the back cover is a photo of the immensely talented author Gill Hutchinson, who wrote the story for her granddaughter, and whom had been a writer for many years with the aspiration of publications. Sadly, just as publishers were really getting interested in Gill’s work she passed away. Her dreams of becoming published lived on, and a dedicated group of her friend’s crowd funded the money and both created and published this beautiful book.

So, The littlest Magpie and Star is a book with not one but two moving heart-warming stories within it. This book is truly a lovely read, and if you wish to purchase a copy please visit the web-site: The Littlest Magpie.

The White Fox by Jackie Morris

Jackie Morris is an award winning author and illustrator who specialises in energetic watercolours of wildlife. The White Fox is a stunning book featuring her exquisitely executed illustrations, along with the story of Sol, a twelve year old living with his father in Seattle, a long way from his home and family in Alaska. Sol’s life isn’t ideal, his Dad is mourning and working long hours at the docs and the kids at school ostracize him due to cultural and visual differences. But everything changes when Sol strikes up an unlikely friendship with an equally displaced White Artic Fox. As boy and fox bond, a sequence of events unfold that bring Sol and his father closer together and instigates a journey back to home and happiness.

The White Fox is visually stunning and is full of positive themes about the harmony between wildlife and humans plus the importance of family and heritage.

The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Ok, I think I should set this straight; when I started compiling this post I didn’t intend there to be a theme (other than wintery tales), but I suddenly realise that it has become very well, foxy, starry and magpie-y. That said, I offer no apology as these have all been selected on merit, and just happen to coincidently create a theme by their juxtaposition.

As I said, all these books have been picked by merit, and The Fox and Star is no exception, it or more accurately they, as I’m reviewing both the hardback and paperback which are subtly different but equally exquisite.

The Fox and the Star tell the tale of fox, whose only companion is star that he follows through the forest, but then one night when fox looks up, the star is nowhere to be seen. Lonely fox, searches for star to avail, until one day something changes, the leaves fall and when he looks up he sees the and his friend star along with thousands of other stars in the winter sky. 

Both books, are stunning; from the very ‘Filo Society esk’ fabric covered hardback with white cover illustrations, or the larger format picture books, with bright cover, with autumn colours which offers a vintage almost ‘Rosie walk’ feel. Inside the book share the same rich illustrations; highly stylised with repeated patterns and limited pallet, creating an atmospheric and aesthetic feast for the eyes, which will be enjoyed by children of all ages.

Thank you for stopping by and reading our first instalment of recommended winter reads, please stop by again for part two, where we will be talking; elves, dinosaurs and snow queens.

*please do not get me wrong both The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe or The Box Delights are great books to read all year around as are the rest of the amazing children’s classics, we are just offering an alternative!

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