On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies (Illustrator)

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On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies (Illustrator)

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: Gorgeous illustrations and a lyrical text combine to make this charming and poignant story about friendship, imagination and sharing a very special picture book indeed.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: August 2014
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781471119286

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Birt and Etho are best friends. They spend hours together playing on Sudden Hill. Usually they play with large cardboard boxes imagining that they are pirates, or soldiers or maybe kings but always they are the best of friends. Then one day another little boy, Shu, brings his box to Sudden Hill and asks if he can play too. The three boys sit in their boxes together and imagine that they are dragon slayers or skyscraper dancers but Birt feels strange. He misses the two-by-two rhythm he had shared with Etho. Can the boys make a friendship of two become three?

This beautifully understated picture book has a very special feel about it. The illustrations by award winning illustrator Benji Davies have a timeless quality about them and I found the three little friends instantly appealing. Linda Sarah’s text is lyrical and flows with an easy style conveying the emotions, particularly of Birt, extremely well. Many young children, and older ones too, will identify with Birt as he feels pushed aside by the arrival of a new friend who takes his place in the imaginative games he shared with Etho. I was particularly impressed that the author allowed this hurt little boy to show anger rather than just sadness. Children need to learn that anger can be an understandable reaction to some of life’s trials and tribulations and this aspect is sensitively handled. Happily all is resolved by the end of the story and the three chums learn that a three-by-three rhythm, although new to them, can be good too.

I loved everything about this gorgeous picture book and have a feeling that this will stand the test of time. The theme of friendship is an important one and this story would help little ones learn to understand that problems can be overcome. It also celebrates the power of play and would, I think, ignite the imaginations of children who listened to it. As in all of the very best picture books so much of the story is conveyed in the wonderful illustrations. Although deceptively simple this is a poignant story with a lasting impact. I hope that you enjoy this as much as I did!

Thank you very much to the people at Simon and Schuster Children's Books for sending this review copy to the Bookbag.

For something a little different but also written by Linda Sarah you may like to try Mi and Museum City If you are looking for another excellent picture book about friendship and feeling left out Bookbag recommends Ping and Pong are Best Friends (mostly) by Tim Hopgood

Buy On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies (Illustrator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies (Illustrator) at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies (Illustrator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies (Illustrator) at Amazon.com.


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