Friday 7 December 2012

ReaditDaddy's Book of the Week - Sparkle's Song by Samantha Hale and Maria Ruiz Johnson (Maverick Books)

Children's books that deal with loss and grief are few and far between. This year we've seen Jo Empson's utterly sublime "Rabbityness" (which was also a book of the week a while back) and here's Sparkle's Song which is extremely touching and very beautifully written and illustrated.

But it's Sparkle's story that truly touches the heart. Living in a comfortable home with her loving parents, one day they leave on a trip and never return - leaving Sparkle with her rather stand-offish auntie.

So far it sounds a little familiar and I guess you're expecting things to take a turn for the worst. Sparkle's Auntie doesn't like music in any form and won't even let poor Sparkle listen to her radio.

But one night soft tinkling tones wake Sparkle from her sleep, and she realises that a soft lullaby is coming from the nearby deep dark wood.

Sparkle's journey of musical discovery is just the start of an adventure as she discovers the magical instruments that live nearby, and listens to them play and talk - realising that things aren't quite as bad as they seem, and that the music holds a special link to her parents - and her Auntie too.

We've tried very hard not to spoil the book for you. We've barely seen this book mentioned anywhere, and I'm worried that a lot of people have missed out on something that's very special and certainly not quite what we've come to expect from Maverick Books (though their funny and monstrous books are utterly brilliant, of course!)

So seek this out, and see if it touches you the way it touched us. Charlotte loved Sparkle but more importantly the book raised lots of questions and not always questions that are easy to answer. Books like this help a great deal though, and our children learn from them and more importantly from how we read books like this to them.

Charlotte's best bit: Sparkle's love of music and her magical first journey into the enchanted forest.

Daddy's favourite bit: A touching and very subtle way of dealing with childhood grief and loss, utterly beautifully written and illustrated - a real rare gem.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Maverick Books)