Friday 16 September 2016

ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 16th September 2016 - "The Storm Whale in Winter" by Benji Davies (Simon and Schuster Children's Books)

I truly don't know how he does it...! Benji Davies once again reigns supreme in our first Book of the Week slot this week with the fabulous sequel to "The Storm Whale"...
Honestly, to have a talent like that, to be able to wring emotion from people like you're wringing out a sponge. It's almost alchemic.

Benji Davies is, without doubt, one of the most talented author-illustrators of this century and his books - whether he's illustrating for others, or writing and illustrating his own stories, deservedly win all the praise and plaudits possible.

Quite right too, and "The Storm Whale" won the 2014 inaugural Oscar's First Book Prize and countless other awards too (including, of course, our Book of the Week).

And he's done it again. The sequel starts out with Noi and his Dad preparing for a long hard winter on their island. With 6 cats and a hungry boy to feed, Dad sets out for one last fishing trip before the weather gets too bad.

Noi, meanwhile, is missing his friend - the baby whale he and his dad rescued in the first book. Now and again Noi's hopes are raised as he spots a shape on the horizon, only to be dashed when the shape turns out to be a rusty anchor.

Poor Noi feels lonely but little does he realise that he will once again cross paths with his whale friend, only this time it will be Noi who needs help - not the whale.

"The Storm Whale in Winter" gets you right there from the moment you crack open the cover (and once again have fun spotting those six busy cats who crop up as the story unfolds - We always have trouble spotting the timid little black kitten!) and it doesn't let up, until you're almost weeping with joy. I really don't want to spoil the book and the story too much for you but if you're not hugging the book, your kids, and Benji's twitter feed by the end of it then I really don't know what to say.

I mysteriously tweeted that Simon and Schuster nailed "Book of the Year" back in July long before this book hit the shelves. I'd read it as we baked under the broiling hot sun, reading a tale that's so beautifully and perfectly pitch for the approaching winter, you'll feel like campaigning for the BBC to get this made into their next Christmas animation extravaganza (oh boy, does that ever need to happen!!)

Benji, well done, this is the stuff of legends - and if it's even possible, it's even BETTER than the original. How on EARTH do you do that?

Charlotte's best bit: When Noi spots a whale tail on the horizon, only to find it's an anchor! Poor Noi! She also loves spotting Noi's adorable cats, mischievously hiding amongst the story pages.

Daddy's favourite bit: Look, I'm not ashamed to admit that as a 48 year old fellah, children's picture books shouldn't make me sob with joy like this one did, but this is just such a beautiful and emotional book. It had better win a truckload more awards for Benji, he really does know how to catch lightning in a bottle. Utterly compelling and brilliant stuff.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Simon and Schuster Children's Books)

"The Storm Whale in Winter"

Written and Illustrated by Benji Davies

Published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books

Publication Date: 22nd September 2016