April 2007 Archives

The Museum Book

| No Comments
Jan Mark, ill. Richard Holland
Walker Books
1844287491
Apr 2007
A tribute to human knowledge and achievement, Jan Mark�s final completed work, �The Museum Book� forms a fitting epitaph to an author whose work constantly challenged and was illuminated by a sense of curiousity and intrigue. As with her fictional output, the unique quality coursing through this extraordinary book is the intricate connections between experience and understanding that Mark has teased out.

�The Museum Book� insinuates the desire for macrocosmic realisation, yet accomplishes this down to the most minute detail, outlining the importance of individual experience and knowledge.

Richard Holloway has done a sterling job in epitomising through his illustrations, the wealth and breadth of knowledge that museums provide us access towards, and in making visual Mark�s verbal challenges as to what constitutes a museum, and to looking beyond the mere fabric and architecture of the buildings themselves.

Not always easy, or comfortable, consideration is given here to the nature of a museum and the plunderous acts that have sometimes underpinned their collation throughout history.

Here is a lasting gift, a tribute and testament to the skills of an author whose creative output, rather than sales figures, marks her out as one of the most remarkable authors of recent years. A welcome and an arguably necessary addition for the bookshelf of the everyman, whether they be young or old...



Pelle's New Suit

| No Comments
Elsa Beskow
Floris Books
0863155847
Feb 2007
One of the founders of Swedish children�s literature, Elsa Beskow reported drawing joint influence for her work from her own childhood experience and from the fairytales and folklore told to her by her grandmother. Floris books who have not only brought these classics of European children's literature to the English market, have now made one of her classic picture books �Pelle�s new suit� available in a new mini book format, meanings it affordability makes this treasure of translated literature, accessible to many...

Extended across from the baseline of the animal provider � the sheep with his wool � Pelle must exchange his own skills, trade and time to acquire the assistance needed by others in this picture books that operates as a child�s externalised sense of social conscience. Roles in society, and the need to utilise our own abiities to gain access to the skills base of those surrounding us makes this a perennially valuable tale. Experience for Pelle placed in a Christian context as the newly made blue suit is completed just in time for Sunday.

A sweet little picture book whose subtle Christian message does not overshadow its imperative for social adeptness through the meeting of our needs and desires. Clear naturalistic illustrations make this book as fresh today as upon initial publication in the early 20th Century.

Look out for �The Sun Egg�, another of Beskow�s classic picture books made available in miniature format by Floris books, whereby the woodland community pontificate over the possible background and nature to the sun egg. The reality of this being something much more commonplace and the mystery weaved around it and the mythical and magical overtures cast around it make this a delightful and unexpected picture book.




Charlie Small: The Perfumed Pirates of Perfidy

| No Comments
Nick Ward
David Fickling Books
0385611234
Mar 2007
�We�d had enough of cleaning and cooking while the men went off and had all the fun. So Ivy called a meeting of all the pirate wives, and we decided to become pirates ourselves. The first all-lady pirate crew in the world. And we�ve not done any cleaning since!�

Found encased in a solid block of ice on the Himalayas, Charlie Small�s second journal recounts our heroes detainment and endeavours to escape the treacherous gang of lady pirates who have become his captives.

This second exciting adventure sees Charlie do battle with a deadly sea slug, become the most wanted felon on the high seas, attempt a rescue attempt from the clutches of Turncoat Craik, pit his wits against a crew of ghost pirates and find cunning use for a puffer fish.

Still unclear as to the exact nature or cause of his current predicament and term of leave from home, Charlie strives to regain possession of his mobile telephone, the only device via which contact with home � albeit a somewhat repetitive and unfulfilling contact � is made�

More excitement and adventure on the high seas than you can shake a curious and inventive Jakeman�s clockwork limpet at, keep your eyes peeled for the next thrilling instalment�!


Tug of War

| No Comments
Catherine Forde
Egmont
1405220058
Apr 2007
Based around the true life experiences of her grandmother, dual influences are played out in Catherine Forde�s latest novel, �Tug of War�. Set in the near future, the book sees the United Kingdom subject to repeated and increasingly endangering attacks from terrorism. Ship building in Glasgow makes the city a particular target, thus it is that that siblings John and Molly are preparing to be evacuated to safety.

Experiences for the two siblings from this point forth could scarcely be more divergent. John is evacuated to Mr Nott�s where he is abused and used as forced labour. Molly meanwhile is �molly�-coddled by the excesses of Pernilla, a larger than life, glamorous individual who teaches at the local school and is keen to lavish upon her evacuee the source behind each of her every whim and desire. Personal intent behind this becomes increasingly clear as Pernilla�s efforts to extend influence become ever more overt and desperate.

Caught between her own mother and Pernilla who, unable to have children of her own, is keen to adopt Molly and is most persuasive about the type of lifestyle she could expect with her, Molly faces a difficult choice . Town is played out versus country, modernity versus the pastoral, indusrial versus agricultural and emotional versus materialism as Molly is forced to assess what is important to her.

Skilfully observed and rich in its emotional depth and charge, the importance of this book is its ability to stimulate real consideration as to the modern meaning and worth of family ties in the develoment of childhood.



Barnaby Grimes

| No Comments
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Doubleday
0385611889
Jun 2007
�I heard a hiss. Then a low, menacing snarl. And as the clouds cleared again and the moon shone down, I found myself staring into a pair of blazing yellow eyes.�

Proving once more their exceptional talent for realising their own worlds down to the most minute, vivid and therefore utterly convincing detail, �Barnarby Grimes�, the first book in a new series, sees their work and unique collaborative techniques transposed from the fantasy oeuvre to a more historic setting.

The eponymous Barnaby Grimes is a �Tick Tock� lad, a delivery boy of sorts, whose method of ambulation is across the roof-scapes and skyline of the city. This provides ample helpings of cliff-hanger suspense and tensions in addition to providing spectacular striding panoramas across the city.

The city is replete in its surface veneer of finery and elegance, yet throbbing beneath it is a seedy underbelly of deep, dark secrets, of corruption and power-struggles that has the transformative powers to imbue readers with the sensibilities of an intrepid explorer and an astute sleuth.

The prose is almost poetic, imbued as it is with rhythm and pace and a crystalline crispness. The narrative is lithe and lively. It leaps and bounds as does the lyncathrope that tears at the heart of the novel. Interplay between story and illustration brings to mind a more dynamic version of the dialectic between Harry Furniss and Charles Dicken!

Rich in literary allusion, the book has shades of Stephenson�s �Jekyll and Hyde�, a tinge of Barrie�s dark humour with the �Tick Tock� referencing Hook�s nemesis, the crocodile that swallowed the clock thus emphasising the importance of time in delineating childhood, societal cross-sections that bring to mind Dickens and of course the werewolves themselves, a construct of European folkloric legends with possible literary originations in the Icelandic Volsunga Saga. A thought-provoking and highly engaging new read penned by the hands of one of the most exciting creative collaborations in children�s literature.




Tell Me a Story Mummy

| No Comments
Carl Norac, ill. Mei Matsuoka
Macmillan
1405021896
Feb 2007
An internalised fear of a solipsistic existence whereby only her own fears and turmoils delineate her character is in danger of verification through external stimuli as Salsa the goat finds herself unable to sleep or to gain solace from those around her... The edginess of this dark subject is made more comfortable by the softened, idealised naturalistic illustrations that Mei Matsuoka lends the work.

Unable to sleep, Salsa finds herself anxious made anxious by her inability to waken any of the other sleeping animals. Tiring of making so much her exertions, Salsa seeks a different place to sleep and eventually recruits the aid of Cork, a passing sheep who she believes will have soporific effect if jumping a fence!

Unable to assist, Salsa eventually requests a story from her mum who starts with one that is too exciting, moves on to another that is too funny, to a third that is too scary. Salsa decides there is nothing for it other than to tell her mother the type of story that would be ideal, in so doing� she begins� to feel� a little sleepy� The ability to find rest and relaxation was within her all along. A sensitive and touching picture book where story and illustration move towards peaceable slumber.



The Hunting Season

| No Comments
Dean Vincent Carter
Bodley Head
0370329120
Mar 2007
�This was the sound of death. The door hand began to turn, there was another snort of breath, then � A gunshot, followed by someone yelling, then more gunshots.�

Fear of uncertainty and of the unknown with the ultimate culmination of these being death, is the driving force that powers all horror. Psychological horror, however, takes this one step further examining the means and manners via which we are able to exert control over our lives and the types of influence and affect that cause their gradual corrosion.

�Hunting Season�, Dean Vincent Carter�s second novel explores and unpicks these ideas through the balancing of juxtaposing ideas. Lack of control arises when experience dictates that these contradictions are no longer capable of equilibrium.

Urban influences are pitted against those of nature, visibility in lightness in marked, stark contrast against the obfuscations of darkness, most significant of all, however, is the interplay between the tamed and the wild as urges and desires are painted against societal control and civilisation.

Set eight years after an accident in Austria that apparently killed both of his parents, Gerontius Moore (named after Elgar�s �The Dream of Gerontius�) is living with his Aunt and Uncle when he becomes unwittingly embroiled with gangland activities in an abandoned theatre. Played out in this theatrical setting, the first part of the drama takes on a post-modern level of self-awareness. This develops in quick-fire succession to endeavours to escape being the �hunted� of the title and for Gerontius, to learn more about the death of his immediate family. A heart-thumpingly gripping read with revelation and surprise at every turn!




Jacky Daydream

| No Comments
Jacqueline Wilson
Doubleday
0385610157
Mar 2007
Handed the dubious mantle of being somehow wholly attuned to the minds and sensibilities of her child readers, Jacqueline Wilson�s prose has become increasingly emotionally dispossessed, as the marketing surrounding her books appears to have forced her further and further into a creative cul-de-sac.

Jacky Daydream�, her latest work epitomises this process by mythologising her own childhood alongside the preoccupations and ideas that have bubbled through the body of her work post-�Tracy Beaker�. What feels palpably frustrating to readers here is that the obvious capability of Wilson as a writer, her curiosity, intellect and intrigue, all of that potential is neither attained nor even properly attempted. Simmering preoccupations are never given full time to gestate, to develop and grow and thereby to reach the exhilarating climax of a rolling boil. By consequence, Wilson�s output has begun to feel, at best, increasingly formulaic and at worst, unashamedly stale.

With the exception of touchingly considerate and astute passages � notably those recollecting her father�s sensitivity and the manner through which his inability to achieve expression led to manifestations of anger � much of the book is enigmatic choosing to focus on the trivialities of which plastic dolls were favoured on lustful trips to Woolworths, rather than on the emotional grist of grappling with what inspires her as a writer, of what aspects of her own childhood burn bright at the heart of her own fiction.

As an autobiographical work �Jacky Daydream" appears peculiarly one-dimensional, it operates best as a series of reminiscences and on this level is not without appeal. That it chooses to omit reference to any of Jacqueline�s early work is strangely elliptical .

A sad lack of pride or sense of fulfilment in her body of work per-se pervades the book and is entirely disparate to the sparky enthusiasm and intellect with which professionals in the field will have experienced first-hand as Jacqueline articulated her literary tastes, beliefs and considerable enthusiasm during her time as laureate. This together with the quote �I was delighted to discover that children in adult novels were much more characters� with rich inner lives and fears and fancies� leaves readers anxious in the hope that Jacqueline will be afforded and indeed will afford herself as much time and emotional free-reign as is needed to write a book that truly matters to her, which realises the types of inner-life and motivation that modern children's fiction is able to embrace, and in which justifiable pride is able to be taken.




Charlie Small: Gorilla City

| No Comments
Nick Ward
David Fickling Books
0385611226
Mar 2007
Occasionally one holds a book in one�s hand that is the subject of much torment, trial and tribulation. Found on the banks of the Rivery Wyre at Skippool, Lancashire, �Charlie Small: Gorilla City� is one such book. Its protagonist, the eponymous Charlie who, paradoxically reveals he has lived for over four-hundred years has been flung headlong into adventures of the most extraordinary kind...

When trying out a raft that he and his father built, Charlie gets struck by lightning. From here-on-in, Charlie�s adventures begin as he befriends a wonderfully inventive Steam Rhinoceros, is attacked by a monstrous giant snake and finally is kidnapped by a gang of gorillas who hold the expectation he might present marital material!

A rip-roaring, page-turning adventure that will leave readers wondering, just what has happened to Charlie, what misfortunes will before him in the next thrilling instalment, just where that instalment might be found and� whether he will ever return home in time for tea! Serialised young adventure of the most imaginative and exciting, but also reassuring type, look out for episodes recounted through the journals of Charlie himself...




Ottoline and the Yellow Cat

| No Comments
Chris Riddell
Macmillan
1405050578
Feb 2007
Seamless transposition of the atmosphere and ethos from classic film noir against his signature eccentricity and wit contribute to making �Ottoline and the Yellow Cat� the latest highly distinctive and original offering from Chris Riddell.

Ottoline, daughter to two adventurers, finds that her parents' activities influence her twofold. Firstly she has inherited a sizeable portion of their curiosity and intrigue as to the world that surrounds her in and around the pepperpot shaped P. W. Huffledinck tower. Secondly, sustained absence of her parents constitutes an ideal base from which exploits, mystery and escapades are able to be had in the firmest traditions of children's literature!

Accompanied by the solemn, unbedgrudging constancy of the sombre, but ever-true Mr. Monroe, Ottoline finds herself embroiled in attempts to uncover the strange happenings that are afoot concerning the disappearance of the city�s dogs.

Utilising cunning, guile and the skills and specialties of the various employees who cater to each of her needs during her parents� absence, Ottoline exposes the plots and ploys of the phantom pooch pilferer whose influence has outstretched across the city.

Opulent in feel and imaginative in focus, this makes a welcome addition to any bookshelf and, like its eponymous protagonist, readers will doubtless find themselves subject to similar collecterly urges! A crisp, clear and affectionate prosaic style belies the immediacy of Riddell�s inspiring illustrations � reproduced here in a striking red and black two-tone print that harkens back to the earlier reprographic production of children�s comics.

Exceptionally high production values, a format that is ideal for small hands and a loving attention to detail give a solid backbone that bodes well for the future of the series. Secrets, surprises, style and sophistication make this a superbly special story of sleuthing� a standing ovation for the astounding Ottoline!



The Wooden Mile

| No Comments
Chris Mould
Hodder
0340944773
Mar 2007
�If ever a kid could look after himself, here he was. Stanley could box like a champ. A proper little jack-rabbit he was, and like all true champs he had the heart of a lion along with that mane of stringy blond hair.�

With its nuances of shadow and uncertainty, darkness pervades throughout Chris Mould�s new book, �The Wooden Mile�. The first in a series, �Something Wickedly Weird�, featuring the unlikely hero Stanley Buggles, these books mark Mould�s first full length fictional offerings.

Following the death of Admiral Bartholomew Swift, Stanley inherits the Estate of Candlestick Hall on Crampton Rock. A peopled by a peculiar populace, Crampton Rock is cut off from the mainland by a mile long jetty that is only traversable at low tide, meaning the community harbours more than its share of dark secrets...

Bringing together a brigand of pirates, a prophetic pike, a lycanthrope in the guise of a sweet-shop owner in addition to a hoard of treasure, �The Wooden Mile� is a faster-than-light, highly paced exciting story for newly independent readers.

Illustrations are carefully interwoven and add a brilliant visualisation to the sense of shady, brooding menace� As much weirdly wicked as wickedly weird! With its discernable rhythm and pace, here is a story that rises above mere words, it is a symphony of shadows � music for the mysteriously minded, a masterpiece in miniature!




Kill Swap

| No Comments
James Lovegrove
Barrington Stoke
1842994476
Jan 2007
�You shot a man at point-blank range. That took guts. Most people would have chickened out, but not you.�

Jack Jennings� father has debts that are crippling both him and his family. Driven by desperation towards loan shark, Tony Mullen, his father suffers an error of judgement when he gambles this borrowed money unsuccessfully.

Answer to the families financial problems seems to come through the door when a card for �Trouble Fix Ltd� is posted through the door. Jack takes the decision to contact the company, who inform him that his father�s debts and problems might be solved if Jack is able to take on the problems of another client by �killing their problem dead�, in return for which that client will reciprocate by eliminating Jack�s problem.

A lithe twist in the tale forces readers to reassess Jack�s actions, the measure of desperation he has felt and the moral rectitude of his choice as it becomes apparent that Jack has been a pawn in a much larger game. A chilling portrayal of behaviour driven by extremity.




Hard Luck

| No Comments
Mary Arrigan
Barrington Stoke
1842994484
Jan 2007
The brief note from the authors of Barrington Stoke books allows insight into the creative process, giving privileged access to the grist from which the story ideas were gleaned.

Mary Arrigan, author of �Hard Luck� describes the poignant memory of a school visit to the theatre and meeting a homeless boy outside prior to and following the performance� This becomes the base for �Hard Luck�.

Constant spats and feuding with his mother�s new partner, Bill means that tensions have risen high for Matthew at home. As the situation worsens, Matthew makes the decision to leave home and to take to the streets. A chance encounter with one of his teaches at the supermarket leads to his being given a blanket and it is this that forms the centre-point of the story.

Outside the protected environs of his home, Matthew suffers at the hands of bullies and thieves, but contrary to this, also experiences kindness and support from Gentleman Jeremy who befriends him. Resolution is eventually found as Matthew�s school teacher recognises not only the blanket she had given to Matthew but, in a surprise ending, also Gentleman Jeremy�s true identity which comes as something of a revelation!

Strong depictions of the emotional and physical space a home provides in formative years make this a notable gritty and contemporary tale.



How Embarrassing is That?

| No Comments
Pete Johnson
Barrington Stoke
1842994506
Jan 2007
�All the other parents were just looking around without any fuss. Only two were making a right show of themselves � mine.�

Ruby, affectionately known as Tiddles to her parents is mortified when they attend the school open day. Loud voices, flamboyant clothing and embarrassing anecdotes from childhood combine to make this a cringe-worthy visit.

Following the open day, Ruby, Grace and Callum decide to hold their own competition, the �Ouch Factor� to decide the most embarrassing set of parents. Scoring is one point for clothing too young for said parent, two points for assuming youth parlance, three for discussing schoolwork with friends, four for a public reprimand, five for public singing and six for a big hug or kiss, anywhere or anytime!

With the parameters firmly established, the competition begins but its outcome surprises the friends, who come to realise the value of parents as the people that they are regardless of whatever perceived freakeries and foibles they might have� Compromise is reached in a way that shows understanding, but that does not belittle children�s feeling and often self-conscious outlooks.

Characteristically, profundity of Pete Johnson's social comment is made accessible via his grasp of the palliative qualities of the comic.



Resistance

| No Comments
Craig Simpson
Corgi
0552555711
Feb 2007
�It struck me that true evil probably lurked in only a few men but its effect was felt across borders, continents even.�

Opening with full force as brothers Marek and Olaf shoot a deer, the remainder of this notable book by debut novelist Craig Simpson packs a similarly powerful punch. Marek and Olaf�s late childhood is lived out in Nazi occupied Norway. Seeking vengeance against their father�s arrest for conspiring with the Norwegian Resistance, the brothers arrange and execute the assassination of the Nazi, Wold. After killing him, they discover there had been a passenger in the car who witnessed the act.

In a desperate attempt to escape the ramifications of their subversion of occupied rule, the boys flee to the hostile environs of the Hardanger where survival itself is a ordeal. There Resistance workers save the boys who find themselves caught in endeavours to liberate their country from its oppressors.

Simpson successfully mirrors the bleak reality of Fascist rule against the cold and barren landscape of the Hardanger. Careful research and historical accuracy into the method and means of the resistance workers lends a quite literally real sense of urgency and imperative to this gripping and hard-hitting thriller that, in speaking of the past gives chilling warning for the future...




The Book Thief

| No Comments
Markus Zusak
Doubleday
0385611463
Jan 2007
�When she came to write her story, she would wonder exactly when the books and the words started not just to mean something, but everything.�

Opening with the cruel death of Liesel Meminger�s brother on the epoch of a new life as the two children were to be fostered to the Hubermanns, the book is set in Nazi Germany and examines the extremes of human behaviour, from absolute intolerance and hatred to the benevolence of generosity and love against the harshest, most repressive of political and social regimes.

Paranoia regarding the seditious nature of literature gives ready emphasis to the act and the art of reading both in a metafictional sense, as Liesel encounters a variety of personal, political and polemical writings and recordings, and for the reader of Zusak�s book, who piece together the overall picture.

Though fragmented in terms of the narrative � for the most part split between Liesel�s story and Death�s aching attempts to comprehend the nature of a humanity that he is fearful of, but that necessarily delineates his own role and purpose � indelible images are burnt upon mind and memory.

Death�s narration bleeds a beauty and tenderness into the novel, but also an incredibly intense pain. Yearning for comprehension in amongst atrocities that are incomprehensible, the novel is lastingly affecting and inspires depths of compassion.




The Underwood See

| No Comments
Michael Lawrence
Orchard Books
1843628759
Oct 2006
�As the eye mirrors the soul, the sky quite often reflects the health of the reality. It certainly does here. This is a �fast� reality, evolving many times more rapidly than most. It would take several millennia for a standard reality to age as much as this one has in seven years.�

Hurrah for Micahel Lawrence! Reading �The Aldous Lexicon� has been the literary equivalent of sinking one�s teeth into a juicy orange on the most parched of days and finding oneself overwhelmed by the complex flavours of sweet and piquant that simultaneously stimulate the tastebuds�

Strength and quality of writing delivered throughout this trilogy has been consistently high as too have the heady injections of musings on philosophy and personal history that make these books so far-reaching and exceptional.

Picking up the intrigue and creative space inhabited by his first novel, �When Snow Falls" (Andersen Press, 1995), �The Aldous Lexicon� is a rich, vibrant novel pieced together from the multiplicity of lives we each of us lead. The series lures readers into its ideas-base before guttering into manifest worlds, time-lines and portrayals of identity and self.

The first book, �A Crack in the Line� introduces the cast and promotes the idea of an alternative reality by positing the question, what would happen if the capricious chance leading to the occurrence of a seminal event in one�s life was altered� In it, dual protagonists Alaric and Naia are brought into uneasy alignment as the realisation dawns that they inhabit the same familial space in their respective worlds.

�Small Eternities� the second book takes place four months following the events of the first. Alaric and Naia have switched places. With flood waters high they become caught in a timeslip to 1945 where they witness the premature death of their great uncle, Aldous Underwood and realise the background and impact of this point in their shared history.

In this, the third novel,The Underwood See�, the potential for change to character, setting and history is fully unleashed. The butterfly wings of caprice that have beaten in previous novels now mean the winds of change blow with an invigorating hurricane force through this impressive third novel.

The book is necessarily discursive, tracking different reality strands and the characters that have formed within these. Lawrence outlines some of the mechanics of these alternate realities and goes on to explore the impact and attempted rationalisation of these phenomenon.

As a whole, the series is demanding and challenging, but readers are amply rewarded with a legacy of expanding conceptual understanding and awareness. It is refreshing to read a series that operates wholly between its constituent parts, devoting little space towards constraining recapitulation. The books are taut, wholly engaging and, when read together move with an exhilarating, almost break-neck pace.

At once incisive and insightful, this criminally under-rated sequence represents some the strongest and most influential contributions to teenage fiction in recent years.

[Star rating is for the series as well as this individual book]


The Tortoise and the Dare

| No Comments
Terry Deary, ill. Helen Flook
A&C Black
0713682205
Mar 2007
�Slow and steady wins the race�

Books of instruction have played a seminal role in the history and development of children�s literature. Arguably, children�s literature has never � and perhaps can never � fully escape its didactic and pedagogical base. Aesop�s fables have been amongst the most enduring of fiction for children since first publication in English translation by William Caxton in 1484.

Terry Deary brings both ardour and aptitude to his new series, published by A & C Black, �Greek Tales�. Opening with morals gleaned from Aesop, the books utilise new stories to expand upon and make modern the premise of these fables.

Opening with contextual information, the book tells how Heracles won a race at Olympia, proving himself to be the strongest, fastest hero the world has ever known. Remembrance of this achievement is held through the Olympic Games.

Using the fable of the tortoise and the hare as its ideas base, Deary creates a modern fable that will resonate with many disillusioned siblings as Cypselis uses his sister as a wager on a bet that he will beat Bacchiad in the school Olympics. The trouble is, Ellie knows her brother is not a strong winner� How can they secure her safety and future?!

Witty and wise, this is a cleverly penned series for first readers that will have readers themselves racing to the finishing line�




When We Lived in Uncle's Hat

| No Comments
Peter Stam, ill Jutta Bauer
Wingedchariot Press
1905341040
Nov 2006
Three generations experiment with coexistence in �When we lived in Uncle�s Hat�, together trying out life lived in numerous different locations. The first of these is the house with blue lights, where the sun was so hot the curtains had to be kept closed and the smell of lilac permeated from outside.

Moving through an increasingly outlandish range of abodes, the family spend time living in the forest, in Aunty�s violin and in Uncle�s hat. The real skill of this picture book is the way its characters are depicted with such minute detail through the situations in which they are encountered. There is no dialogue within the book and yet it is hard not to feel an intimate warmth and closeness to them, evidenced by Grandpa, whom when they live in the church yard feels sad every time that they bury somebody.

Exploring change and the means employed for acceptance, this is a reflective and contemplative book that succeeds in taking its readers �outside time� to experience and appreciate the ways our senses act as keys to unlock particular memories and the means via which the places we live in comes to be made home. Soulful pattern and resolve is reached by the end of the novel as �now our house has four corners. And out year has four seasons. We moved here four years ago��