Review: The White Fox – Jackie Morris

The White Fox by Jackie MorrisThis week I’ve been reading Jackie Morris’s Greenaway 2018 nominated The White Fox – given the weather we’ve had this week, I couldn’t have hoped for a better book!

The day the fox comes, things begin to change for Sol. He’s adrift too, lost in the big city with his father, longing for the wild and frozen north. The fox offers a way back, a chance to reconnect, to find his way home.

Blue grey wintry tones set against the thick cream paper stock that is Barrington Stoke’s trademark make this the perfect book to curl up with on a wintry evening. Jackie Morris once again weaves words and pictures into a pocket sized work of beauty.The White Fox - Jackie Morris

At only 84 pages long the story is deceptively deep. Sol, bullied at school and adrift in a big city, feels a natural affinity with the white fox which mysteriously turns up on Seattle’s docks. It offers him a way back home and a reconnection with both the wild landscape of Alaska and his family.

The whole book breathes: clutches of snowy birch trees offer punctuation to the text and a tiny fox rushes along the bottom corner whilst gloriously saturated double page spreads allow the reader a moment of quiet reflection to connect to the wider themes of the book.
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Both Sol and the fox begin the story profoundly out of place – beautifully conveyed in the opening illustrations which show the fox lost among the dark and overwhelming man made structures. However, as Sol’s connection to the fox, and indeed his own family, develops the colour palette lightens and we progress through the shining snow of the forest and the emerald green backdrop of his grandmother’s house to culminate in the shimmering, gold spangled, blue of the night sky. There is a satisfying sense of a journey having taken place – both literal and emotional. A truly satisfying read.

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CKG 2018 Nominations Announced

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It’s always an exciting day when the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway nominations are announced. It marks the first step in an extraordinary reading journey that will take us all the way to the announcement of the winners in June next year.  Moreover, it’s a wonderful insight into the books that fellow librarians have been reading and recommending and with a total of 237 books nominated across the two awards this year there’s no doubt that we’ve got a couple of months of outstanding reading ahead.

Over the last couple of years I’ve inadvertently developed my own ritual for nomination announcement day: after printing a nice crisp copy of the lists, I take an inexplicable joy in wielding a highlighter across them to see how many I have read. The necessity has also sadly developed in recent years to denote books on the lists that I have in my possession but have not yet had time to read so there’s also the added excitement of colour coding going on!

Sometimes it’s been scary to see how many I’ve not got around to reading – I like to think that I stay up to date with recent publications and this can be a bit of a wake up call – but for the most part it’s a welcome challenge. I’m fairly certain that I’m not going to manage to read them all, probably not even close, but past experience has taught me that these lists hold treasures and there’s genuine delight in the anticipation of what I’m going to find.

I’m already looking forward to the announcement of the longlists in February – highlighter at the ready!

You can see the full lists and award timetable on the CKG Website

Happy reading everyone!

Lizzie

Read Along With Us: Greenaway regional nominations

As promised, here is the lowdown on our suggested titles to be considered for nomination for the Kate Greenaway medal this year.

If you’re attending next Tuesday’s event with Cressida Cowell in Preston, we need your help to decide which of these titles we officially put forward as our North West regional nominations for the award.

All nominations for the 2018 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway awards will be officially announced on 6th November 2017. The longlist will be announced in February 2018, the shortlist will be unveiled in March, and the winners will be revealed on 18th June 2018.

We’ll have copies of the books available for you to peruse on the night. In the meantime, here are our thoughts on the titles we’re asking you to consider for the Greenaway nomination, and why we think they are worthy contenders for the awards.

The Pond – Cathy Fisher (illustrator); Nicola Davies (author) (Graffeg Publishing)

The PondPublisher comment: “This colourful, emotional book is filled with natural imagery, and will teach children not only about death and loss, but the importance of the natural world.”

Our thoughts: “The illustrations in this book have real impact, portraying perfectly the grieving of a family mourning the loss of their father. The colours used reflect the mood – from the dark tones of the muddy hole in the ground to the vibrant water lily and the misty, glowing light of the last page. Beautiful images of pond life fill every part of the book, including the cover, end papers and title page, contributing to a rich and satisfying visual experience” (Karen)

 

Night Shift – Debi Gliori (Hot Key Books)

Night shiftPublisher comment: “With stunning black and white illustration and deceptively simple text, author and illustrator Debi Gliori examines how depression affects one’s whole outlook upon life, and shows that there can be an escape – it may not be easy to find, but it is there.”

Our thoughts: “The limited colour palette, with occasional use of colour, creates visual drama and immediacy. The theme of mental health and depression is depicted through images and imagination with vast vistas of creeping fog and surreal seascapes making it immediately accessible and easy to understand by readers of all ages. The book is never mawkish and despite presenting an immersive experience of brooding depression, nonetheless ends on a note that there might be some hope. It achieves this without sentimentality.” (Jake)

 

A First Book of Animals – Petr Horacek (illustrator); Nicola Davies (author) (Walker Books)

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Publisher comment: “This book is a glorious celebration of life in the wild in all its variety and splendour, and belongs on every child’s bookshelf.”

Our thoughts: “It’s impossible to tell which came first here – the text or the illustrations – as both work so perfectly together to create an outstanding work of vivacity and exuberance. Nature bursts from the page in abundance. Petr Horacek’s double page spreads allow Nicola Davies’ poetic text to dance across the page whilst his jewel-like colours and textured collages express the remarkable diversity of the natural world on a grand scale. Clever layout and design, with the occasional nod to works of natural history from yesteryear, make this a book which works on several levels with appeal across a wide age and ability range, A true treasury!” (Lizzie)

 

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World – Kate Pankhurst (Bloomsbury)

Fantastically great women who changed the worlsPublisher comment: “Bursting full of beautiful illustrations and astounding facts, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World is the perfect introduction to just a few of the most incredible women who helped shape the world we live in.”

Our thoughts: “Kate’s book, with it’s sweet, charming illustrations, celebrates the lives of women who have made a contribution or positive change to the world that may not typically be recognised within the school curriculum. This book takes the reader on  a whistle-stop tour of women’s history, with images that capture the visual essence of the women being represented.” (Pamela)

 

The Secret of Black Rock – Joe Todd-Stanton (Flying Eye Books)

TheSecretOfBlackRock_RGB Publisher comment: “This surreal modern folk-tale tells the story of an adventurous young girl who must protect a peaceful living creature. Erin is fascinated by the stories of Black Rock: a huge, dark and spiky mass that is said to destroy any boats that come near it! But are the tales really true? One day Erin sneaks on board her mother’s fishing boat to find out…”

 

A Story Like the Wind – Jo Weaver (illustrator); Gill Lewis (author) (Oxford University Press)

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Publisher comment: “In a small boat spinning out on the sea sits a group of refugees, fleeing their war-stricken homes. they have nothing – except their memories, their stories and their music. In this very special, lyrical fable, beautifully illustrated by Jo Weaver, Gill Lewis weaves an unforgettable tale of displacement, hope and the search for freedom.”

Our thoughts: “A deeply moving story of hope and freedom. A small boat full of refugees drifts on the sea. The swirling turquoise illustrations mirror the swirling winds and sea. This is a beautiful interweaving of a folk tale and the refugees own stories , demonstrating the power of stories to bring people together and give them a common identity.” (Ann)

So those are our thoughts on our Greenaway suggestions, please do let us know your thoughts on these books. You can find out more about the CKG awards process and the judging criteria here: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/awards-process.php

Don’t forget, YLG members can also make up to two individual nominations for each award

 

CKG Review – What you need to know about the Greenaway Shortlist (Part I)

Just in time for today’s medal ceremony – brush up with our handy visual guides to the eight outstanding titles nominated for this year’s Greenaway Medal. Can you decide who’s going to win the coveted prize?

Harry Potter - Greenaway 17A Great Big Cuddle - Greenaway 17Tidy - Greenaway 17Wild Animals Of The North - Greenaway 17