What could be better on a cold winter’s day than two beautiful picture books to warm the heart? Old Barn Books publish some stunning titles and these two are no exception, both having been nominated for the 2018 Kate Greenaway Medal. They would make lovely gifts for little ones and budding readers to enjoy.
Pea Pod Lullaby by Glenda Millard illustrated by Stephen Michael King.
This is a beautiful lyrical lullaby putting into a very few words just how important we can be to each other, especially during times of great need. A family – mother, baby, boy and dog – are escaping danger across the sea in a tiny boat, through wind and rain.
During their journey they come across a stranded polar bear, who too needs help. Together they cross the ocean and eventually both the family and the polar bear find a place of safety.
The stunning illustrations depict the many wondrous ways we can help each other – shelter, reassurance, food, light, acceptance, love. The words are perfectly and lovingly placed to appear just at the right moment as your eyes travel over the pages. Pea Pod Lullaby is a wonderful example of how words and pictures can effortlessly communicate a truly heartfelt message – a message that can speak to any and every situation where we might find ourselves in need.
Storm Whale by Sarah Brennan illustrated by Jane Tanner
A beautifully illustrated exhilarating tale, Storm Whale tells of three sisters who visit the beach one windy day and find a whale washed up on the shore. Their family day at the seaside is transformed; they battle the wind and waves all day to save the whale seemingly to no avail. As night closes in, they have no choice but to return home. In the morning they rush to the beach only to find no sign of the stranded whale….for with their help and the power of the storm, he has returned to the sea.
The poetic narrative in Storm Whale reads like an ancient tale and captures the enormity of the task in front of the girls, from which they do not falter. Amazing scenic illustrations, each like a canvas in its own right, bring to life the wildness of the sea, the sound of the wind, the awe of waves and the bravery of the three sisters.
There is something other worldly about the sea and the creatures who live in it and Storm Whale creates a wonderful connection between ‘our’ world and theirs. It also depicts a sense of family and warmth between the sisters which I loved. Despite the danger and the incredible force of nature, their bravery and determination wins through, showing how even though a problem may seem insurmountable it is possible to make a difference.
Both of these picture books would be a wonderful addition to any bookshelf to be enjoyed by readers young and old!
With thanks to Old Barn Books for sending me these books to review.
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