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

Friday 17 November 2017

Review: The Poesy Ring

The exquisite storyteller of Home in the Rain, Sliver Buttons and A Bus Called Heaven, Bob Graham, has created a beautiful love story in his new book, The Poesy Ring.

Since the Middle Ages people have given poesy rings as a sign of their friendship and love. The Poesy Ring story begins in County Kerry, Ireland in 1830. We meet a tearful young woman on horseback, who tosses her poesy ring into a meadow.

Readers know that while romantic  love can go through stormy patches and hearts are broken, like the ship illustrated on the shore, there is always hope of finding love again. The engraved message, love never dies, on the inside of the ring illustrates this.

In The Poesy Ring we follow the ring's journey, waiting for it to be discovered and given to someone who has found true love. The ring experiences a marvellous journey over time and place. It is transported by a deer from the meadow to a fertile field, a starling picks it up and then drops into the depths of the ocean where it is swallowed by a fish. During its journey, no matter how much time has passed, the ring still glistens brightly with the hope of finding love again.

Bob Graham's illustrations depict time in a fabulous way. An acorn in the meadow grows into a magnificent tree that produces its own acorns. Graham shows ships on the ocean from different periods of time, including large vessels from WWII.

The illustrations are multilayered, making this a rich story about emotions, time and at the heart of it all love.  It is worth discussing with your children what Graham's illustrations might represent; stormy oceans, a murmur of starlings, the deep ocean, acorns and tilling the soil.

I adore that even if you cannot see the ring you can still see it shining as a beacon of hope and love. In 1967 the ring arrives in New York City. This is an era of peace walks and the summer of love. Graham uses a small yet important symbol, a swallow tattoo, telling the reader that The Poesy Ring is going to be a happily ever after story, as the swallow is a symbol of  hope and love.

Title: The Poesy Ring
Author/Illustrator: Bob Graham
Publisher: Walker Books, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 November 2017
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781406378276
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book