'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 7 December 2013

Review: Winter's Child

It's been a very long winter. Nana brushes the snow from the sill and wishes for spring, but her grandson Tom loves the season. He skates all day on the lake and sledges on the hill, wishing winter could go on forever.

Tom's mother knows winter is not good for Nana. She is worried. The old lady is struggling and spring is so far away.

One day, Tom is skiing when he espies a young boy with the palest skin and ice-blue eyes. The boys play together day after day and the snow continues to fall. Tom asks where the boy is from and he replies 'Everywhere and nowhere.'

As Tom enjoys his magical friendship, the weeks pass. Very soon, the family run out of firewood to keep Nana warm. Tom's mother uses the last of the vegetables and wonders how she can plant seeds in the frozen earth, and Nana becomes weaker still.

One day, Tom's friend asks why Tom is so sad, and he reveals that his Nana is not coping with winter. That night, the boy peeks through the cabin window and sees how dire the family's situation has become, and he knows it's time to leave, for spring cannot creep in until winter is allowed to leave.

McAllister's gorgeous, fable-like book is a heartfelt tale of the seasons--both seasons of the year and the seasons of life. It's also about the power of love, of letting go, and of renewal.

Grahame Baker Smith's eye-boggling illustrations couldn't more perfectly capture the beauty of this story. His twinkling snowscapes and final spring scene are truly breathtaking, and it's absolutely no wonder this talented illustrator won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration in 2011. His work is timeless, lustrous and extremely collectible. See our review of Grahame's book Farther here.

Winter's Child is a book that will enchant time and again. A magical combination of text and image, it's destined to become a classic.

Title: Winter's Child
Author: Angela McAllister
Illustrator: Grahame Baker Smith
Publisher: Templar, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 October 2013
Format: Hard cover with dust jacket
ISBN: 9781848775459
For ages: 4 - 10
Type: Picture Book