Wednesday 19 April 2017

"South" by Daniel Duncan (Abrams Young Readers)

With a cover that draws you right in, let's take to the high seas in an adorable little ketch along with a thoughtful fisherman in Daniel Duncan's "South".
This is a rather lovely little story that is just like the boat depicted on its cover. Lots more going on under the surface than above.

"South" by Daniel Duncan depicts a lone fisherman who lives his life on the sea. He's got everything he needs on his tiny little fishing boat (even, as Charlotte pointed out straight away, a toilet!) But it's an oddly lonely existence, until one day an unexpected visitor literally drops in on the fisherman's life.

A poor injured bird flops onto the deck, and the caring and kindly fisherman decides to take care of the stricken feathered friend.

He patiently feeds it, ties a makeshift splint around its broken wing and waits for it to heal.

The poor bird has missed migrating with the rest of its friends, so with a slightly heavy heart the fisherman decides there's only one thing to do - head south and find a nice warm home for his new bird buddy.

So many exquisite details but this one spread raised some interesting questions for Charlotte. 
The fisherman's life will never be the same again. Here's where the story started to reveal its hidden depths to Charlotte as she started to fill in the gaps. She wanted to know why the Fisherman spent so much time at sea, away from his family (who you can see depicted in the spread above).

The story also ended slightly abruptly, as if it was leaving you to do what Charlotte did - fill in the huge gaps with a story of your own. Did the fisherman wave his new friend goodbye, perhaps returning later to check whether the bird was OK?

Best of friends, but what lay ahead? 
I wondered whether the story was the victim of some heavy editing perhaps - or whether the intention was to ensure that there was enough of a hook left over in the story's ending to let your own imagination fly like the bird eventually does once his wings have healed.

Charlotte's favourite bit: She absolutely loved the fisherman's little fishing boat, and the positive message the story conveyed but felt that there was something missing, something extra needed. Perhaps there's a follow-up planned?

Daddy's favourite bit: An undeniably beautiful book that's full of exquisite details, feeling a bit oddly jarring in the way it ends.

(Kindly supplied for review)

"South" by Daniel Duncan is released on 2nd May 2017, published by Abrams Young Readers.