Posted in Book review, Books, Children's Literature, Illustrations, Reading, Reading Challenge 2021

Reading Challenge 2021: Oskar’s Quest – Annika Perry

Hello Lovelies!

I hope you’re all well and are getting into the Easter spirit 🐣! I’m thoroughly enjoying my Easter break – reading plenty, spending time with my family (my support bubble), in the garden and spending time soaking up the warmer days. I seem to have got my writing mojo back so whilst I appreciate it is now April, I have a couple of posts I need to catch up with. Today’s post is the book I chose to read for the reading challenge. The focus for March was: Read a book that was gifted to you. If you’d like to catch up or take part in my reading challenge, please click here for more information. I’m sure all my avid reader blogging friends get books for birthdays, Christmas and then when you decide to treat yourself… or is that just me? Anyway, I had the perfect book in mind for this month from my dear friend, Annika Perry. Those of you who have seen my blog will remember that a couple of years ago, I blogged about Annika’s first book, The Storyteller Speaks. You can see this post here. Annika is a blogger who was here from day one of my journey and I’ve been so honoured to be a part of her writing journey. You can find her wonderful blog here. I was privileged to receive a copy of Oskar’s Quest, Annika’s second book. I can’t wait to share this with you all today.

What’s it all about?

This children’s book hits all the right notes. It’s about courage, kindness and friendship – all the ingredients for a meaningful and happy life and all the lessons we teach children and young people today. There is a simple premise behind the book but it stands for so much more which is why it personally appeals to me as an adult. Oskar is a blue bird who finds himself on Roda, a little lost. This mysterious island is filled with beautiful flowers and interesting creatures but Oskar is afraid. He sees the red bell-flowers and notices they look lonely.

‘The flower nodded sadly as one more leaf drifted to the ground. A drop of water followed.’

The reason for all the sadness is because their songbird, Maya has been taken by Drang, the darkest cloud in the sky. What can Oskar possibly do? He’s just a little blue bird. He decides he wants to be brave and help. He makes the decision to go to Drang and ask for her back. After all, the island needs her beautiful music to bring them happiness once again. But he can hear the fear and the names inside his head. This doesn’t deter him, he will get the songbird back. As he gets closer to the cloud, the worse the weather is. He has to really hold his nerve and be the bravest bird he’s ever possibly been.

‘Maya opened her golden beak but stopped, swallowed her screech and hiccuped loudly. Her body trembled with fear and hope.’

Drang booms and bangs and scares both the birds. However, he is misunderstood. He saw the happiness of the other birds and felt left out. He has no friends so he thought that by taking Maya, she could make him happy too. But she stopped singing and cried instead making Drang cry too. It was this that caused the terrible weather! Oskar’s bravery and kindness meant that they could all head back to the island together and be friends there.

‘At her words, all the birds, flowers and trees of Roda sang a song of celebration. The music made Drang so happy he could not help but shed a few tears of joy.’

Oskar has to return home where he hears the calls again, mocking him for being scared. Yet this time was different because he was not scared and because he had new friends. He was a much braver bird than he was before. Rather than act in nastiness towards the birds, he invites them to join them on their new adventures.

Final Thoughts
There’s a real art to writing children’s books and I think Annika has produced an excellent one. It teaches us that we can be brave and we can use kindness to defeat anything. It’s also made me reflect back to my own childhood and how I could have done things differently, if only I were a bit more brave. The illustrations are also stunning and support the story wonderfully. I naturally loved Oskar and Maya’s illustrated beauty was matched perfectly to the writing about her. I am really in awe of Gabrielle Vickery’s drawings.

This book fulfils my criteria for this month perfectly because it is a treasured gift and it always will be. I have read this book three times now and it’s magical with each read. Annika really knows how to keep her audience entertained whilst also teaching them that kindness, bravery and friendship mean the world. Adult or child – read this book. Felling sad or lost – read this book. Gift it to anyone that has ever been afraid fo anything. Thank you so much, Annika. ♥️

See you all next time for my round up post. Take care all and HAPPY EASTER.

Big love xxx

Posted in Books, Illustrations, Reading

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse – Charlie Mackesy

Hey Loves!

How are you all? I hope everyone is well and embracing the lighter days and evenings. It’s been a bit of a strange time for me so I apologise for the absence. School is interesting, especially in light of the recent announcements. I’m sure everything will make sense soon enough. As long as I am doing the best for my students, that’s all that matters. At least there is a light at the end of the tunnel now.

I’m sure we all have worries and concerns, the same worries we have had for the past twelve months really. We have all been affected by the pandemic – whether we have been poorly or lost someone we love. In these times, I know I am missing the physical contact with people – I love a good hug! But I am certain that this won’t be a negative post – that’s not my style at all! I want to share with you a book that felt like a hug. It’s beautiful in every sense of the word. Of course, I am talking about The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy. 👦 🦊 🐴. I really hope you enjoy the post and the book as much as I did. Consider this my virtual hug to you all during these trying times. 💜

What’s it all about?
Following numerous Instagram posts showing the illustrations of a young, lonely boy and his animal friends in 2018, the book, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, was born. It tells the story of a lonely boy who ambles through the countryside on a glorious spring day.

The first animal the boy meets is the mole. They become friends and continue the journey, meeting the fox and the horse. On this journey they talk about anything and everything. They form a companionship and become great friends. They share their hopes and their fears with each other and provide each other the support they need. The boy is no longer lonely.

Whilst asking the big questions life throws at us, each animal has a different reaction. The fox is usually silent whereas the horse and the mole offer reassurance and wisdom. Don’t misunderstand the silence from the fox. His presence is just as important as the advice given from the other animals.

Each animal represents a different part of us as human beings. The boy is naturally inquisitive with so many questions about the world. The mole (arguably my favourite) is overly enthusiastic and a lover of cake. The fox has clearly been hurt and upset and is now distrusting and sad. The horse represents the wiseness, the deepest part of us. Each of us can relate to each character in the text. That’s what makes this so magical. By the end, your heart and harmony will be restored.

Final Thoughts
I love this book. I genuinely love this book. I think everyone should read it. It gave me a little boost that I so desperately needed. As I said at the start, I wanted to share this with you all so it brings you the joy it bought me. If you’ve read it, I’m sure you know exactly what I mean. Whilst this doesn’t have a linear structure, it is more episodic and showing the different fears we all have and the joys that friendship and companionship bring to our lives. The calligraphy writing is stunning and I wish I could do that myself to be fair. The illustrations are also beautiful. The two things work together to create a sublime book. 👦 🦊 🐴

Continue to look after yourselves. Stay safe. I’ll see you at the weekend for a roundup of this month.

Big love all xxxx

Posted in Animals, Book review, Christmas, Christmas Eve, Illustrations

How Winston Delivered Christmas – Alex T Smith

Hello Loves!

Happy Christmas Eve! 🎅🏻🤶🏻 I’m very excited for Christmas. It’s such a beautiful time of year and a time where we can all take a moment and reflect upon anything and everything. For me, it is such an important time because I spend it with my lovely family.

But first, time to share with you and Advent calendar of different sorts today: a book. I spotted this last year and amazingly I’ve managed to remember it and read it this year. I hope you enjoy this review as much as I did reading it.

Overview

This little gem of a book is told in twenty four and a half chapters. The idea is to read a chapter a day from December 1st until Christmas Day (the half chapter being for Christmas morning but I’ve already read it in preparation for this post!)

This book gave me a huge, warm, fuzzy feeling inside. It’s just ridiculously cute. The story follows a little mouse called Winston. He’s a small but mighty character which a huge heart. On Christmas Eve he finds a letter addressed to Father Christmas. He makes his mission to ensure it gets delivered in time for Christmas.

His journey is full of great challenges but he does meet some equally lovely characters along the way. He meets a beautiful white cat and a very helpful rat who works at the world famous Fortesque Department Store.L


Winston is so lovely and just wants the letter to be delivered. He doesn’t stop at anything and doesn’t let anything get in his way. For such a small character, he is one brave mouse.

By the end of the advent story, he is rewarded with a lovely new home and a plush warm bed, just in time for Christmas.

Final Thoughts

This is a perfect Christmas story. It features cute, fuzzy creatures, Father Christmas, lovely food and good deeds. It’s ideal if you have little ones too – it’s just so magical. I also really love the fact that it’s an advent story. This time of year is so crazy busy that it’s just perfect to have a little chapter before bed each night.

This book is for absolutely everyone. There’s nothing to not like about it and the illustrations, created by Smith, are just stunning too. What’s also beautiful is the range of activities throughout which you can do with your family. I particularly like the letter to Father Christmas, making pom-poms and snow gloves. Just heavenly!

Lastly, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Have a lovely day with your loved ones. Make some beautiful memories.🎄🎁

Big love all xx