The Invisible

The Invisible
Tom Percival
Simon & Schuster Children’s Books

With very little money, Isabel and her family are unable to afford the things that some people take for granted. Isabel takes notice of the beautiful things in life and she loves her family dearly – they’re all she needs.

One day though there’s not enough money to pay the bills or the rent, so the family have to leave their home and move to the other side of the city. Now Isabel feels she doesn’t belong; she’s unable to find a single cheering thing in this cold, lonely environment where nobody seems to notice her at all; it’s as though she’s become completely invisible. Never once though, does she complain.

Strangely though, the less Isabel is seen, the more she is able to see other invisible people in her new locality. Overlooked they might be, but each one in his or her own way, is quietly helping out..

And so it comes about that Isobel too decides to do things to help: she plants flowers, cares for stray animals and joins in with fixing things. Gradually other people join her endeavours;

eventually nobody is invisible: Isabel has done something truly amazing: she’s made a difference.

Moving and compassionate, Tom’s story shows how it’s possible for everyone to feel that they belong, and indeed have a right so to do. It’s a tale that is very personal to its creator who himself grew up in poverty living in a caravan for six years as a child often feeling overlooked; but it’s also the story of everyone who, for whatever reason is overlooked by society. Not all of those as lucky as Tom who says in his author’s note, that as well as love and beautiful countryside, he did have, thanks to a mobile library, plenty of books. Clearly those helped make his world a better place.

This beautifully illustrated, poignant story is one that everyone should read. Tom’s use of colour, or lack of it, mirror Isabel’s changes in circumstances. Readers can almost feel the chill of the ice and snow in the wintry scenes and the contrasting warmth in the spirited energy of a supportive collaborative community.

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