Top critical review
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Doesn't quite hit the mark
on 23 December 2009
Barefoot Books always produce top quality books in terms of artwork and presentation and their ethos, to produce thoughtful, thought provoking and 'moral' books for children, but which are still fun and magical is laudable. This book ticks all those boxes in some ways.
The illustrations are exquisite, paintings full of detail and colour and striking images. The story is about a young boy who comes from an unusual family, isolated at school he meets a new girl called Angelina. A girl who is also different, but popular, and their friendship develops. It is heavy on the message of acceptance and inclusion and of the fact that the things that make us individuals can be either a cause for bullying in a damaged community, or love and celebration in an accepting community. It is a nice message, but one which for me, was not particularly well told.
It was too wordy for my three year old, who listened quietly, and who seemed to get the general gist, when we discussed it, but who told me flatly that it was a 'grown up's book' and that he had no desire to hear it again. My ten year old enjoyed it, but zipped through it in seconds and hasn't returned to it, and I find it hard to think where it would be most suitably pitched. It either needed simpler words and to make more of the quirkiness of the story, or be more sophisticated. As it was I found it a fairly unsatisfactory half and half.