Caterpillar Dreams

Caterpillar Dreams
Clive McFarland
Harper Collins Children’s Books
What a wonderfully positive message concludes Clive McFarland’s superbly uplifting tale of having the courage to believe in yourself and follow your dreams. That is just what Henri the Caterpillar does as he first dreams some big dreams, and then determines to follow his dream to see the world beyond his garden home. His minibeast friends do their best to discourage him: “Seriously, Henri, an adventure? Sounds exhausting.” is Slug’s comment but happily, Toad is on hand to offer encouragement: “Here’s the thing with dreams, Henri. If you don’t chase them, they always get away.” Wise words indeed. Thus it is that our stripy creature, aided and abetted by Bird, Mole and Fish starts out on his ‘amazing, incredible, impossible-seeming adventures.‘ Having crossed a wall, a road and a lake,

Henri discovers a giant hot-air balloon; but before he can climb to the top, he starts to become encased in a cocoon. Surely his dreams aren’t about to be thwarted before lift off? Young audiences familiar with Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, will know the seeming setback is only temporary. Far from being robbed of his dream, his metamorphosis allows Henri to take flight and travel anywhere he wants; and what he wants is to go to “The most amazing, incredible, impossibly possible place of all.” …

Inspiring, – don’t you love Henri’s politely determined help-seeking persistence as he appeals to Bird, Mole and Fish? What dauntlessness: what a journey; this scene reveals the scale of same, and allows audiences to enjoy the sight of those facilitators again.

Clive’s crisp, mixed media, digitally assembled collage pictures, with those wonderful characters and delectable details, make the whole thing a complete charmer of a book that quietly packs a powerful punch.

I’ve signed the charter 

The Fox and the Wild

%0A

The Fox and the Wild
Clive McFarland
Templar Publishing
Fred’s an urban fox born and bred but even so he’s not at all keen on urban life with its smoke, noise and fast moving traffic. In contrast, his cousins are city lovers roaming the streets at night hunting for tasty tidbits. One particular night while so doing, Fred and his fellow marauders cause a disturbance around the bins and have to flee.

DSCN7900

Fred becomes separated from his cousins and that’s when, having seen a flock of birds, he decides to find out about the possibilities of life beyond the city. But how can he do so without being able to fly like the birds – in particular the one he has an encounter with? “I don’t need to fly, I’ll hunt!” he assures the bird but that proves rather more difficult than he’d envisaged …

%0A

Trees with spreading branches and the wind blowing over the hills seem elusive; all he finds is hard ground …

%0A

noisy monsters … and a dark tunnel. But our Fred is a determined character and he carries on looking, feeling, smelling and listening …

DSCN7904

There’s a wonderful finale which I won’t spoil but suffice it to say, what he finds makes everything worthwhile …
Such a lovely story with a powerful, inherent environmental message and such sublime illustrations (McFarland uses paints, crayons and cut paper, and then digitally renders): this is a super book to share and one that’s likely to inspire listeners to try creating their own urban and ‘wild’ scenes using some of Clive McFarland’s techniques.WNDB_Buttonlocalbookshops_NameImage-2