Tuesday, August 20, 2013

One More Candle by Merry Susiarjo and Emmeline Pidgen (Twelve Elves Books)

Children's books about siblings are always interesting as we get to see how various authors reflect their own experiences, weave them into a story, and make that story appealing to children who may or may not have siblings of their own. Though Charlotte doesn't have any, she's acutely aware of what it must be like to have a younger or older sister as many of her friends do, and the shared experience from school - or indeed with her own cousins - does rub off a bit.

In "One More Candle", Merry Susiarjo (herself from a family of four with three children of her own) has absolutely got it spot on with this tale of a young girl (Nola) and her older sister by a year, Betty. Betty always celebrates her birthday first, and one year Nola rather jealously wants to celebrate her birthday on the same day (the look of exasperation on her mum's face is beautifully captured by Emmeline Pidgen in this bit).

So birthday time arrives, with one party, two girls, two cakes but wait - what is this? Nola notices that Betty has 5 candles on her cake but Nola only has four! How is that fair? Betty has one more candle!

The next year, the same thing happens and once again Nola gets quite upset. She doesn't understand why she can't have the same number of candles on her cake as Betty - and in that sweet innocent way that only children are capable of, Nola wishes she could be older (when you get to my age, it works the other way around, I'd probably quite like to be 12 again!)

I won't spoil the rest of the book for you, suffice to say that the end of the book is touching and sweet, and beautifully observed.

If you have a close bond with your brothers and/or sisters, you'll love this book. Charlotte loved it because birthdays are such special times, and the combination of tightly observed storytelling and utterly wonderful illustrations leads to a charming and beautiful book.

"One More Candle" is published on 1st September 2013 by the awesomely named Twelve Elves Books.

Charlotte's best bit: Where can she get a groovy purple doll like Nola's ?

Daddy's favourite bit: Rather liked the parents in this - the dad (the big softy) trying to appease his darling daughter (sounds familiar) and the mum exasperatedly agreeing. Wonderful book!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Merry Susiarjo)


Catherine said...

We loved this one too :)

Renee C. said...

Oh, we loved this one as well! :)