The Snow Dragon by Abi Elphinstone & Fiona Woodcock
I don’t know why, but I expected a much younger book (that is my bad, nothing with the book), so it took me a little bit to get into it. It is still an illustrated young children’s book, but it is on the more wordy side than not.
The story is extremely sweet and kept me thinking of some of my favourite stories as a child, including The Rescuers or Madeleine. This felt like those stories made me feel but it stands on its own well.
Phoebe hopes for a miracle day of her own and to be able to leave the orphanage, but it may never be. However she does her best to hope, and to be happy alongside her sausage dog Herb. A little miracle is all she may need when it is close to Christmas.
I finished the book and felt uplifted and happy. I guess it can be classed as a Christmas story but I definitely didn’t read it with that vibe, but it’d fit fine.
All in all, a snowy story of an orphan full of hope. And there’s a dragon, who can say no to stories with kind nice dragons that give you hope?
Safiya and her mum have never seen eye to eye. Her mum doesn’t understand Safiya’s love of gaming and Safiya doesn’t think they have anything in common. As Safiya struggles to fit in at school she wonders if her mum wishes she was more like her confident best friend Elle. But then her mum falls into a coma and, when Safiya waits by her bedside, she finds herself in a strange alternative world that looks a bit like one of her games. And there’s a rebellious teenage girl, with a secret, who looks suspiciously familiar . . .
This wasn’t a gift from a publisher, but rather a hand me down from Stephanie Burgis, which I ended up lending around before I read it.
I seem to have a penchant for stories about grief. And of hope. A Pocketful of Stars is a bit of both (or rather quite a lot). Safiya is struggling to get along with her mum, who to her doesn’t seem to understand what she likes, and instead is pushing her to do what ehr mum wants.
But after a bad argument, a week later her mum is in a coma and Safiya is double guessing herself. The classic “if I hadn’t done x, this wouldn’t have happened and if I had done y it would’ve been okay”. And part of it is because her being the daughter may not know what medical condition her mum has or anything.
Somehow, this whole if this and that starts a “game”. Into a quest of dinign items that trigger memories of a young woman in a similar mind space and situation as Safiya and her mum. It becomes a race for Safiya, a lot of superstition and a lot of gaming, of trying to find the best, as maybe it will revert what happened to her mum and wake her from the coma.
At the same time, Safiya’s best friend “grows” up a little quicker than Safiya is comfortable with. Not in the sense of her not wanting to grow up, but rahter her friend being immature and calling it “growing up” (when you’re an adult you cringe about this type of attittude but we all did some kind of thing attempting to be more grown up and actually acting very childish).
It was an interesting story, I was intrigued, however it is a story laced with grief and emotional growth. And as such it talks about death, illness and a coma. So read when you’re in a mood that you can cope with the theme of it.
Raven Child and the Snow Witch by Linda Sunderland and Daniel Egneus
Anya lives with her mother and father in the shadow of the icy glacier where the Snow-Witch reigns. Every spring, Anya’s mother journeys to the glacier to pick the blue gentian flowers that grow there. But this time, she does not return. She has been captured by the Snow-Witch and imprisoned in the ice. Anya and her father set off with the ravens to rescue her. It’s a treacherous journey, and there is no knowing what they will find…
You can see it, but the snow is all glittery and delightful and all through the book there is glittery snow in it and it is gorgeous and just made my heart happy (even though in general I am not a fan of glitter, but somehow it fit so well in here). And of course, there is a fox in this story, which is probably a big part of why I got it, but also the title sounded great and the story seemed sweet.
The illustrations aren’t over defined, they’re more “blocky” but that gives it a very personal flavour and it also goes well with the whole snowy crafty theme of the book and it is good.
Anya loves where she lives and loves her mother and father, but when her mother goes out to pick flowers, she has a dream and suddenly wakes up. She feels like her mother spoke to her through the dream about being imprisoned by the Snow Witch.
So both Anya and her father set off (this made me fall for this book, the father was involved, he was part of the adventure!) and as they make their way towards the town closer to where mother has gone and disappeared, Anya rescues a Raven and a Fox.
It is a lovely adventure and there’s an IT vs Meg Murray kind of moment (and I liked that) and in general I liked it. When it came to an end I wished for a little more but it still was a good short read.
Definitely try this one out as it is gorgeous and will make you smile as you read it. I would also recommend (for older readers, but still MG) The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell.