"Rich and evocative illustrations bring to life this tender story of family separation"
Through breathtaking illustrations, we see a mum and son cosied together in bed reminiscing about family events. The memories evoking scenes of happy family days picnicking, escaping storms and learning to ride a bike. The love between them, and in the memories, almost tangible. Slowly though we recognise that dad is no longer there, and through the illustrations we see him saying goodbye as the twosome drive away. Cut to present day and the pair are in a new home, recording their fresh start as a new memory in its own right.
This is a tender and touching story about family separation, about cherishing beloved memories, but also being allowed to move on and create fresh happy memories after a loss. It would make a wonderful conversation starter for young people of all ages in a similar situation.
Smith’s distinctive illustrative style powerfully brings the story and accompanying emotions to life, leaving no doubt why he is a double Greenaway Medal winning illustrator. Double page spreads pull the reader in whilst smaller vignettes focus on the small, but important intricacies of everyday life. The vignettes, in particular, give a sense of watching a happy family life pass before your eyes, capturing as they do moments of love and laughter, safety. Whilst the use of perspective and close-ups - the focus on a teddy bear clasping hand, a still ear, curled toes on a picnic blanket – evoke a sense of intimacy and togetherness.
The text is perfectly limited, allowing ample space for the warm-toned illustrations to speak. Where it does exist, text colour is cleverly used to indicate speaker without interrupting the readers’ immersion in the story. A powerful book to share and revisit, and a must have for all picture book collections.