Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Children’s Book Review, On Sudden Hill

Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson,

Children's Book Review

On Sudden Hill is a children’s picture book, written by Linda Sarah, illustrated by Benji Davies, and published by Simon and Schuster, 2014.

From the publisher:

Birt and Etho are best friends, they play on Sudden Hill, making marvellous contraptions out of cardboard boxes. But then a new boy, Shu, wants to join in too. Birt isn't sure that he wants Shu to join them. Eaten up with jealousy, he goes home and refuses to come out to play. Until Etho and Shu come to his house with the most marvellous cardboard contraption so far...

A compelling story about accepting someone new, from the Benji Davies, the bestselling illustrator of The Storm Whale.

I love the themes of this book! Apart from the fact that I happen to passionately believe in the value of the cardboard box as toy and creative material, I appreciate any good children’s books that deal sensitively with the themes of friendship and acceptance. It’s not a heavy-handed lesson; rather children are invited to share Birt’s dilemma and feelings, and think about ways for him to move forward. Sarah has done a great job with the story, capturing the excitement and limitless possibilities of play, and the bitter corrosion of jealousy and loneliness.

On Sudden Hill was recommended to me by a Benji Davies fan, and I can certainly see why. Kids will love his whimsical illustrations as much as I did. He uses colour, perspective and detail to provide subtext, and to underpin Sarah’s words. Do seek this one out for your picture book collection, or simply as a great book to share with kids! (I have also reviewed another Davies book: The Storm Whale. )

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