Page 45 Review by Stephen
It's the light, basically.
I bought this in for the light inside which is absolutely exquisite!
Over and over again, Briony May Smith captures - as perfectly as anything I've seen - the warm glow of a weak winter sun, low in the sky, on otherwise freezing cold snow. The dappled purple shadows are also present and correct. There's one page in that respect that I'd rank right up there with Monet.
The solitary bear cub waking up alone after hibernation is as cuddly as can be. He's feeling so small in this vast wintry landscape, but finds a little stone looking sad, lost alone, and so adopts it. It's good to have friends, isn't it?
Mind you, I also relish a good rhyme, and Woollard delivers that too. I can already hear you reading this to your kids. The cadence is perfect, and we are in a good old gambol up and down dell (okay, it's more of a mountainous forest), leaping about with some hares racing round, excited for spring and its much softer ground; or birds flitting high with no time to rest, each in search of twigs for their nest.
Oh, the bear muttered. So what is the spring?
Spring, said the birds, is a magical thing!
The sun shimmers out through the cold winter's gloom,
And the buds open up and burst forth into bloom.
Oh! said the bear. I could help build a nest!
But although the bear tried, his attempts weren't the best.
So the bear lolloped off down the track all alone,
Saying, Oh... well at least I have you, dear Stone.
Slight mistaken identity there, mate, as soon you shall see.
It's all so ridiculously pretty that I do wish I had more interior art for you but couldn't find that much online. However, this will only serve to enhance your own wonder when you open the book up for yourself.
Three gasps and you are legally obliged to buy the book.
I will be listening from behind our counter.