Child of Galaxies by Blake Nuto and Charlotte Ager
|Child of Galaxies by Blake Nuto and Charlotte Ager|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: A wonderful use of language and illustrations together, creating a lyrical, diverse and uplifting reading experience.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 48||Date: May 2020|
|Publisher: Flying Eye Books|
|External links: Author's website|
What does it mean to be alive? What are we made of, and where are we going? Child of Galaxies is a lovely children's picture book that deals with all the big questions. Written as a poem, the lyrical words don't shy away from darkness, nor talk down to the children you are reading to, but rather than work beautifully together with the illustrations to create a powerful, uplifting reading experience.
It was the words I loved first with this book. The phrasing and imagery is wonderful, with minds sprouting wings and lines like And in life you'll share friends, you'll know love without end, you'll feel rain from infinity teeming. The pace and the rhythm is just beautiful. I can imagine some parents might pick this up and dismiss it as too difficult for little children to appreciate, but I really believe that reading aloud with children should be a widely diverse experience. Yes, we need all those stories about poo and pants and fluffy puppies and naughty princesses to make us laugh and read again, again, again! But equally, children are not stupid, and from a very small age they can appreciate the beauty of language, even if they don't fully understand all the words. And because of the wonderful illustrations throughout this book, there is so much to look at as they listen that it becomes an immersive experience, and the words are a soothing sound as they take in all the images.
The poem takes us through different thoughts about who we are and what we are made of. It notes that at times we may feel dark and lost and wonder where we are going, but then it moves on to show our parts in this big, big world we're living in, the beauty of nature around us and in the relationships we build. These are big things for a picture book to look at! But it's done very well. The font is handwritten, with some words capitalised for an emphasis that helps with the phrasing and pace of the poem.
The illustrations have a contemporary style - they are colourful but in a slightly muted, understated way, without the bright primary colours of many children's picture books. They are diverse and inclusive, with children and grown ups of different ethnicities, a child in a wheelchair, a family with two dads...I like that these aspects aren't glaringly obvious, and the inclusion feels completely natural. I also really love that the illustrations feature wild flights of fantasy, such as a child sitting on top of a planet in amongst the stars, right alongside utterly normal, everyday scenes such as playing the park, or walking through town.
There's always lots to look at. Little ones who like to sit and spend time with the pictures will enjoy pointing out the child who is being given a sandwich at a picnic, or the tiny baby being held by its grandmother, or the lady reading on a bench in the busy town scene, and the little girl holding her teddy, looking nervously at the dog who seems like he might be interested in the teddy too! There's real joy in many of the pictures. I especially like the ones of three children jumping in puddles in the rain, with a couple of frogs leaping alongside them! Or there is a stunning sunflower page that suddenly fills both pages with the most gorgeous, warming yellow, and a small girl in amongst the flowers with her family looking on from a distance.
It really is just a lovely book. The cover is tactile, with sparkling silver stars and beams of sunshine, so it even feels nice to pick up and hold. I first read it on a day when I felt a bit down myself, and it actually made me feel quite emotional! Poetry is often powerful in speaking to our souls, I think, and so this is a book that will reach both children and parents, in different ways, and hopefully leave them feeling brighter.
Further Reading: You might also enjoy sharing: For more lyrical writing you might like to try Lord of the Forest by Caroline Pitcher and Jackie Morris or if it's beautiful illustrations you love try Wild by Emily Hughes
You can read more book reviews or buy Child of Galaxies by Blake Nuto and Charlotte Ager at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You could get a free audio download of Child of Galaxies by Blake Nuto and Charlotte Ager with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Child of Galaxies by Blake Nuto and Charlotte Ager at Amazon.com.
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