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October, October Reader Reviews

October, October

Sue Wilsher

‘October, October’ is a powerful story with much to recommend it.

October lives in the woods with her father. They chop logs for the fire and grow the food they need, making an annual trip to the village for clothes and other things they can’t grow. They are wild, gaining joy and vitality from the environment they love. The woman who is her mother left them when October was four and her visits make October flee to the trees. On October’s eleventh birthday, her world is changed when her father falls from a tree and is hospitalised. For October, this means leaving the house in the woods for a place in the city.

Beautifully written, ‘October, October’ is a feast for the senses as Katya Balen’s lyrical prose describes October’s world. Her love of her home in its natural surroundings contrasts vividly with the sensory overload she experiences when in the supermarket or when in London. Her complex relationship with her mother is explored thoughtfully with the similarities between them gradually coming to light. Both love to scavenge things and create stories and it is through mudlarking by the Thames that October is able to better fit into life in London. The story is full of relationships- with parents, friends, places, nature, the environment – and how complicated these can be, but also how essential to our well being.

The cover is stunning and there are wonderful pictures of owls throughout. ‘October, October’ is a powerful story with much to recommend it.

@Scoobiesue2

Rodborough Readers

I’d really recommend it to those who love the woods, and wild animals. The best book I have read so far in this academic year!

This book was an astounding story of how October’s life changes traumatically when her dad is rushed off to hospital. She has no friends in London and doesn't know it like she knows the woods. October is scared and wishes that her dad will recover soon enough for them to return to the woods and her home. But in London, she finds that stories are still lurking beneath the ground and starts to find her feet.

This is a wonderful story, and I love how the author created a magical world inside the forest. I love how October creates stories from objects that she finds, and how she knows the woods and the stars and the lakes and the trees. I’d really recommend it to those who love the woods, and wild animals. The best book I have read so far in this academic year! Thank you to our school librarian for recommending this to me. It has kept me occupied over the past few days!

Book Information

ISBN: 9781526601902
Publication date: 17th September 2020
Author: Katya Balen
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 304 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Animals
Other Categories: Books of the Month, Reviewed by Children, Star Books
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