Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"The leaves were turning different colours and saying goodbye to the trees. The wind was tumbling and leaping, like a wild horse that could not be tamed.
"After the lazy days of summer, it was time for a change.
"As the wind played with her hair, Sara had a curious idea.
"What if all the leaves are flying to the same place?"
Portas doesn't mean into my porch, which is where all the leaves usually seem to end up... No, because these particular detached, dancing decoratives, vibrant with the signalling beacon colours of the harvest season, are being pirouetted around and gyrated into a most unusual place. Here are the evocative entreaties of the fine folk of Flying Eye Books to take us into their confidence...
"Hidden in a remote place surrounded by high mountains, there lies a secret valley. There is an entrance, but you could pass by it a hundred times and still not see it... It's autumn in the hidden valley and there's a sense of change in the air.
"Ticky is about to fly away to warmer places, and Yula is painting him a farewell gift. But when Yula draws, she loses all sense of the world around her... Welcome to Carles Porta's beautifully imagined world, where tiny onion-headed ballerinas dance among multicoloured autumn leaves, and new friends are found in the strangest ways."
Indeed they are! In fact, that concluding line could send me off on innumerable implausible tangents regarding how new chums can come unexpectedly cavorting into one's life, but let's not go there today, because, if we do, it'll be winter next year by the time I conclude my review of this wonderfully heart-warming and exquisitely beautiful all-ages work, which has a charming, captivating enchantment all of its own.
Through gorgeous expressive artwork and poetic prose Carles crafts a stylish swirling story with the message of friendship fixed firmly at its core. Both of honouring old friendships and forging new ones. I could wax lyrical about Porta's amazing art with its riotous chaos of carefully orchestrated colours for several paragraphs but his carefully chosen words are just as powerfully moving.
I see that there are already three further volumes slated for publication before the end of next year, which I gain the impression from their titles and publisher blurb are meant to mirror the seasons, so I'm avidly looking forward to being transported back to Ticky and Yula's hidden valley already!