CKG Review: The Song From Somewhere Else illustrated by Levi Pinfold

The reviews are coming thick and fast today as we prepare for tomorrow’s medal ceremony. Here Lizzie tells us her thoughts on The Song From Somewhere Else….

What the publisher says:

A poignant, darkly comic and deeply moving story about the power of the extraordinary, and finding friendship where you least expect it. Written by the author of the critically acclaimed The Imaginary and illustrated by award-winning illustrator Levi Pinfold,

https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-song-from-somewhere-else-9781408853368/

The Song From Somewhere Else

What we say: 

‘Dark, eerie and beautiful’ and ‘magical, earth-like and majestic’ both apt summations of this atmospheric book from my shadowers.

Indeed, it’s a book that’s captured a lot of attention within our shadowing group with lots of them clamouring to read it after looking at just the first few pages of illustrations (we used the Session 1 outline from the wonderful CLPE teaching sequence). For me it’s a book that I’ve continued to think about long after putting it down – and I think that the illustrations have a huge part to play in the way it’s lingered with me. The slightly smaller format, subtly gleaming front cover, nettle covered endpapers (even nettled covered boards if you have the hardback edition) and swirling title pages all tell you that you are reading something very special.

Immersive and atmospheric double page spreads communicate both the sense of wonder and dark menace that the story pivots on. There’s a filmic quality to the composition of many of the illustrations with pools of light and dark adding a frisson of danger and a use of scale which positions Frank so that she looks swamped by her surroundings – this is a town where the very sky looks like it could fall down and engulf you. Shadowy threats leach onto page edges and roll across the page – details which all sustain the atmosphere and tension.

My favourite illustrations, however, are those that depict Nick’s mother and her Troll music – she is both otherworldly and yet graceful – mountainous and delicate – and all the while surrounded by the wisps of her beautiful music. A beautiful depiction, regardless of her strangeness, of a mother.

All in all a perfect blending of words and pictures.

Lizzie

See Levi Pinfold talk about The Song From Somewhere Else here: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=16

View the full CKG 2018 shortlists here:

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie-current-shortlist.php

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/greenaway-current-shortlist.php

 

 

 

 

 

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CKG Review: Thornhill by Pam Smy

As we near the end of our series of Carngeie and Greenaway reviews, Ann warns us of the perils of reading Greenaway shortlisted Thornhill just before bed!

What the publisher says: 

As she unpacks in her new bedroom, Ella is irresistibly drawn to the big old house that she can see out of her window. Surrounded by overgrown gardens, barbed wire fences and ‘keep out’ signs, it looks derelict.

But that night, a light goes on in one of the windows. And the next day she sees a girl in the grounds.

Ella is hooked. The house has a story to tell. She is sure of it.

http://www.davidficklingbooks.com/shop/ItemDetails.php?pubID=185

Thornhill Pam SmyWhat we say:

I read this last night just before I went to bed, big mistake !

Using a hybrid format of diary entries and illustrated sequences, Thornhill tells the story of two lonely girls across dual timelines. Full of ‘bullies, ghosts and creepy dolls’ (as one newspaper put it) – this contemporary Gothic tale leaves you with much to think about.

The  illustrated sequences have an eerie quality: As Mary’s story is revealed in heartbreaking diary entries, Ella’s exploration of the modern day Thornhill is told in silent monochromatic freeze frame. The effect can be deeply disturbing.

Empty black pages separate the written and illustrated sequences and divide the past from the present. They create a nice pause in between the two narratives, preventing the reader from rushing too quickly through the developing mystery – as with all good creepy tales pacing is everything!

Smy’s bold illustrative style combines observational drawing with a strong design aesthetic. Her imposing facades and lingering images of overgrown gardens (particularly the images used on the front cover and the endpapers) sit comfortably alongside incredibly detailed interiors and expressive character studies.

The overall feeling is cinematic and ominous. The atmospheric and emotional illustrations ooze tension and reward the reader with a suitably ambiguous climax and chilling denouement.

I’ve never read a book like it – totally absorbing!

Ann

Watch Pam Smy speaking about Thornhill on the CKG shadowing site: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=15

You can view the full Carnegie and Kate Greenaway 2018 shortlists here:

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie-current-shortlist.php

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/greenaway-current-shortlist.php

Shadowing The Greenaway: Our 5 Top Tips

Top tips for shadowing the Greenaway shortlist 2018

Sometimes playing second fiddle to its older sister the Carnegie Medal, the Greenaway should not be overlooked as an amazing way to engage readers regardless of age. With its focus on artistic quality and the visual experience of reading it is perfect for both toddler and teen.

We have five top tips for getting the most out of your shadowing experience.

Look CloserI cannot recommend the Reading Resources on the shadowing homepage enough. If you are new to  Greenaway Shadowing these should definitely be your first port of call. The Visual Literacy Guides are an excellent tool for guiding your shadowing group to look more closely at the illustrations as well as offering opportunities to explore the books within the context of the wider world. The reading prompts and questions will gently steer shadowers towards assessing the books against the judging criteria. With additional ideas for further research as well as creative prompts, you really can’t go wrong. Continue reading