Friday 29 July 2016

ReadItDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 29th July 2016 - "Fox and Goldfish" by Nils Pieters (Book Island)

Our second book of the week is one of the most touching, bittersweet and beautiful books we've seen this year...
Oh god, this is so hard. You have no idea how hard it is to type through streams and floods of tears. You may have already picked up on the fact that I'm a huge softy despite my nightclub-bouncer-esque appearance. Charlotte is too and we sat down to read "Fox and Goldfish" by Nils Peters not really knowing what we were letting ourselves in for when we looked at the joyful cover.

Children's books dealing with the subject of loss and grief are tough to get right. Sometimes the sentiment is too saccharine, almost sickeningly so. The intention is there but the message is lost purely because children cannot relate to the characters conveying the message, and adults can't really give the story enough gravitas or importance when reading.

So Nils Peters is something of a genius then, because here is a book that tackles this tricky subject with the bare minimum of text, allowing his rich visuals to take the reader(s) on a melancholy journey that begins when Fox realises that his best friend Goldfish isn't long for this world.

Fox wants to make sure that his best friend is never forgotten, but also wants to make sure that his best friend shares the most unforgettable experiences in their short time left. So they embark on a grand journey to take in all the amazing sights and sounds of the entire world, holding absolutely nothing back.

For the majority of the book, happiness glows from each page spread like the warmest and cosiest feeling imaginable. Like wearing your favourite pair of comfortable slippers, or watching the sun set, slowly creeping below the horizon and lighting up the sky with amazing shades and hues.

I was fine, I really was fine right up until the very last page. You know those really awkward racking sobs that you cannot control, that just burst out of you like a cross between a hiccup and retching. Yeah, those. Of course because I was sobbing piteously this made Charlotte cry (actually more than the book did). We looked at each other, like a pair of tear-streaming pandas and cuddled each other, and the book.

I really do not want anyone to miss this book. I know, I'm basically recommending you sit down and read something that (if you're like us) is going to make you bawl but it's an absolutely stunning piece of work that I really hope a heck of a lot of people see and read. Book Island really do know how to knock us for six.

Utterly wonderful but oh my god there aren't enough tissues in the world to help with that last page spread. There really aren't.

Charlotte's best bit: Fox's fabulous 'road trip' chopper for a cruise along the dusty highways of the USA.

Daddy's favourite bit: Sometimes it actually feels good to cry this much about a children's books. It reminds me that something can remind you just how important those you love are, and what you'd do if you were Fox and they were Goldfish (or vice versa). A really truly stunning and special book.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Book Island)

"Fox and Goldfish"

Written and Illustrated by Nils Pieters

Published by Book Island

Publication Date (Hardback): 1st September 2016