Friday 11 March 2016

ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 11th March 2016 - "Lionheart" by Richard Collingridge (David Fickling Books)

This week's First Book of the Week is something we've been waiting for since we were utterly entranced by "When It Snows" - Richard Collingridge's second children's picture book is the magical "Lionheart"...
Lions are often associated with myths and legends, and also appear in some of our favourite fantasy stories. There's the unforgettable Aslan in "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". There's Simba from "The Lion King" which in turn was based on traditional African tales where Lions are often associated with regality.

Now there's another Lion to add to the roster but before we take a closer look at this gorgeous picture book let's talk about Richard Collingridge, the author and illustrator. Richard has steadily been building an amazing reputation as an illustrator with a real eye for detail. The aforementioned "When it Snows" has become something of a christmas classic, and one we lovingly dig out every December to begin our yuletide countdown. Richard has also been contributing some stunning illustrations to The Phoenix Comic recently, painting some truly awesome spacecraft for the comic's full colour spreads.

So we may have been waiting a while for Richard's second children's book but it was well worth it.

Richard is the name of the main character in the story, a young boy who wears a lion's head mantle and carries around "Lionheart" - a favourite cuddly toy lion. Richard's adventure begins as he explores his imaginary world, pursued by the dark shadow of something scary.

The story explores themes of childhood fears as the story unfolds and Richard runs from the unseen foe. As the world's wonders are there to explore, Richard also discovers a brave ally as his cuddly toy lion magically comes to life.

Along with the rest of the animals, it's time to turn and face his fears as Richard and Lionheart make their stand with one almighty ROAR!!!!

The press releases describe this as "A feature film in a book" and it's true, you can almost feel the book springing to life as you read through it - can almost hear a sweeping soundtrack kicking in at the life-affirming moment where Richard stands up to the darkness and fear. In fact just as we said in our review of "When it Snows"  you can easily imagine this entire story in glorious animated motion if it ever made the leap to screen.

There's quite a neat tie-in to the character's name at the end of the book, so you'll get to know why the character is called Richard and his sidekick Lionheart.

This is an amazing book, very easy to be completely and utterly absorbed by. Richard's lyrical storytelling shows that he's equally at home writing and illustrating fabulous children's stories. Let's just hope we don't have to wait too long till this extremely talented fellah writes and illustrates his third meisterwork!

Charlotte's favourite bit: The almighty brave ROAR at the close of the story as the characters all band together to confront the dragon-like dark fear - Oh and a corking cameo from a character we really love to bits right at the end of the story - look out for him!

Daddy's favourite bit: A luxuriously illustrated book that feels instantly cinematic, sweeping and lyrical in the way it delivers its core message. It goes without saying that Richard's illustrations are fabulous but he can weave magical story worlds seemingly with ease, and delivers two awesome characters and a supporting animal cast that will have you cheering by the end of the tale (and wanting to leap straight back to page one for more!)

(Kindly sent to us for review by David Fickling Books)


Written and Illustrated by Richard Collingridge

Published by David Fickling Books

Publication Date (Hardback): 4th February 2016