Monday 29 August 2016

The Star Tree by Catherine Hyde (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

True picture book magic happens when a book can take you places in your imagination and in your mind that don't exist, but are utterly compelling. So it is with "The Star Tree" by Catherine Hyde, recently published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books.

As a child I was always drawn to books that created a world that I wanted to exist in, and it was nearly always a fantasy world, drawn from the imagination of the author or the artist and described in such a way that my childhood imagination took over the controls, and fully formed that world in my own head, often animated and often recalling sounds and other sensual cues to drag me right in.

"The Star Tree" achieves this beautifully. The story of Miranda who wakes one midsummer's eve at midnight, and is taken on a magical journey with a mysterious white owl, a tiny red hare, a brave white bear and a mysterious stag to The Star Tree.

Here, Miranda carefully plucks a single star from the tree as a keepsake, safely returning home again on the back of a fluffy white goose.

Reading this as a bedtime story seems to lend it even more atmosphere as Charlotte comfortably cuddled on my lap (thankfully she still fits in my lap for bedtime stories so I'm making the most of it) listened to the tale unfold and marvelled at the glorious dreamy illustrations that Catherine has worked into the story.

Would that I had the sort of lilting comforting soft voice that a book like this demands (I'd love to hear someone with a soft lilting Irish or Welsh accent reading this aloud).

Charlotte's best bit: She loves the tiny timid red hare and adored the dreamy swirly illustrations in this one.

Daddy's favourite bit: What a beautiful book. Perfect for bedtime dreamscapes and night time journeys around the capacious realm of your imagination.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

"The Star Tree"

Written by Catherine Hyde

Published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books

Publication Date: 4th August 2016