Once Upon A Mermaid’s Tail
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Beatrice Blue’s new story in her series of ‘Once Upon A … ‘ neo pourquoi tales makes an urgent environmental plea on behalf of the planet’s wildlife.
Herein we meet young Theodore, a passionate fish collector who loves nothing better than to go out once a week in his little boat searching for new fish to add to his aquaria. On one such expedition he nets something amazingly beautiful: a tiny creature encased in a clear shell. No sooner does he start handling it than a voice booms a warning, “Leave her, Theodore! She belongs to the ocean.”
Disregarding the voice he takes her home ignoring the same voice urging him to return the creature to the ocean. Convincing himself he can take great care of the tiny thing, he names it Oceanne and places her into a tank.
As the days go by, instead of thriving the little creature becomes weaker and weaker. Now Theodore is alarmed. What is wrong? The return of that booming voice makes him realise that he must return the creature to the lagoon; but will he be in time to save Oceanne?
Beautifully illustrated and skilfully told, this timely book is another reminder of the fragility of nature and the importance of doing our part in its preservation. It offers a starting point for discussion that young children will find easy to relate to.
Once Upon A Dragon’s Fire
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (First Editions)
In essence this fabulous follow-up to Beatrice’s Once Upon A Unicorn Horn is a neo-pourquoi tale telling how those mythical dragons came to breathe fire, or rather, one very particular dragon.
Now we all know that dragons with their snaggly teeth and huge wings, are truly terrifying creatures. Well maybe not actually; but that’s what comes of listening to hearsay and making up one’s mind before even setting eyes on such things.
And so it was in the village where reside young book-loving Freya and Sylas. All the other villagers lived in fear of their lives on account of the kitten-eating, storm-blowing creature responsible for the constant chill around; but these two are far from scared. In fact, they simply love to read dragon tales to one another; it’s their most favourite thing to do.
Now while the other villagers cower in their homes in the icy cold, the brave pair set out to find said ‘bad dragon’ and terminate its reign of terror once and for all.
What they discover having clambered up the wind-swept mountain though, is something entirely unexpected. No deafening roar, nor sharp teeth, just a sad, lonely-looking creature.
These two children however, know exactly the right remedy for the dragon’s blues …
This wonderfully heart-warming tale celebrates the power of love and kindness as well as the power of story; it’s about misconceptions, facing your fears, searching for truth and much more; I suspect new meanings will reveal themselves on subsequent readings. Beatrice’s illustrations wield their own breath-takingly powerful magic; little by little, they reveal the truth about the dragon, as she dramatically changes the hues of her colour palette with that special gatefold reveal and what follows.
Children and adults alike will relish this book.
Once Upon A Unicorn Horn
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
This simply gorgeous book – a neo pourquoi tale -is Beatrice Blue’s debut picture book and what a smasher it is.
Meet June, a small girl with a wonderful imagination and a taste for all things magical. She knows ‘the woods were full of treasures waiting to be discovered’ and one day she finds the greatest possible treasure – magic horses learning to fly.
One little horse however isn’t whizzing through the air with the others, fluttering his sparkly tail and he’s very sad about the fact. June is anxious to help him but no matter what they try, nothing gets him airborne, so she decides to try a touch of magic. This too fails leaving both girl and horse even more sad.
Back home, June’s parents are sympathetic telling her not to worry, together they can fix things.
Next morning they all think hard and together come up with a possibility: something sweet, happy and to share. Ice-cream fits the bill thinks June; and having whispered sweetening formula over the cartons, she sets out eagerly and very fast, in search of her friend.
Oops! Disaster … or is it? Look at the trajectory of that cone …
Suddenly something magical really does happen …
Billed as the first of a new picture series about how magical creatures got their special features, this story will immediately be devoured by the countless young unicorn lovers out there.
Beatrice’s story is fantastically funny, and deliciously sweet, but thanks in part to the humour, not in a sickly way. Her illustrations are enchanting, quirky and, in the appropriate places, full of joy; and June is a delightful character.
A winning addition to the First Editions titles; I (along with masses of youngsters) look forward to more, both in the series and from Beatrice.