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Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation Kindle Edition
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Susan Hale, the author of Emma and the Song of Creation clearly does. And in her book, she invites young readers to join her.
“Who listens to the sonnets of budding blossoms?”
Emma, the protagonist of Hale's children novel, does. At least, she intuits snatches of their poetry via her lone source of comfort and only friend – a tree in her back yard.
Through various mysterious and magical experiences, Emma learns that her tree, its kith and kin, the entire natural world, and every marginalized human being are important, connected – and in grave danger. All are losing the struggle to survive the onslaught of modern civilization’s moneyed interests. Emma knows that this is wrong, but she bows to the powerful social pressures that value apathy over action. To confront the social ills head-on, Emma would need a strong heart, to find her voice, and to unleash her song. A tall order for a fearful, lonely, bullied eleven-year old from an unhappy home.
As the author, a music therapist, leads readers through Emma’s transformation from downtrodden victim to heroic activist in this engaging cautionary tale, youngsters learn how to use their voices in support of beauty, compassion, and truth.
Will the next generation heed Hale’s call for a more loving world in time to save it? While the central plot of the real-life modern drama has yet to be resolved, by the end of Hale’s masterful composition, youngsters will have the wherewithal to ensure that the human story doesn’t end. Here’s hoping they’ll join Hale’s choir.
Tortillas & Peanut Butter: True Confessions of an American Mom Turned Mexican Smuggler (Print Book)
This is a playful romp of a fairytale quest, ideal for readers of 9-11 years old, that sets nature against urban development. It will encourage children to defend their natural environment and to be considerate of trees. As such, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
We get a clear picture of lonely, 11-year old Emma Oliver. She is new to her town, is bullied and worries she will end up like her senile grandmother. She seeks solace in her favourite tree, Annie Oakley. Any reader who had a childhood affinity for a particular tree will empathise with Emma and want her to overcome her fears and succeed in her quest.
The story is well plotted, fast paced and full of humour. I loved the eccentric old ladies in hats! The speaking animals made it reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, and the creative ideas regarding tree communication help you to imagine a secret life of trees, invisible to us humans.
I would class it as plot-led prose rather than literary fiction – I found the -ing verbs a little repetitive, which is the only thing that stopped me giving it a 5-star rating. However, this doesn't distract from the story at all. There are some beautiful poetic images and a wealth of imagination. I would love to see the book illustrated. And if I had a young daughter, I would buy this book for her.
Harriet Springbett, author of 'Tree Magic'
Fantasy of this kind is not a genre I would normally gravitate to, and I set about reading it more out of curiosity than anything and was quickly drawn in by the extraordinarily original characters created by the author. Highly recommended.
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