The Kiss

The Kiss
Linda Sunderland and Jessica Courtney-Tickle
Little Tiger

Right from Jessica Courtney-Tickle’s inviting cover, this is a superbly uplifting book about one small expression of love and the life-changing consequences such acts of loving kindness can have.

It starts with a kiss blown by young Edwyn to his departing Grandma.

On her journey home, she shows this kiss to a sad-looking old man – with dramatic effects …

and blows him a kiss of her own as her bus leaves.

Walking through the park, she comes upon a woman shouting unkindly at her daughter. Again the sight of Grandma’s kiss has transformative effects –shared laughter between lady and child and an increase in the size of Gran’s kiss.

A surprise in the form of a rich and greedy man desirous of procuring her kiss awaits Grandma as she reaches home. Her refusal to part with it does nothing to deter the man who tries several ploys to get it but Grandma stands firm.

Finally the man resorts to theft and having stolen the kiss he stashes it away, for his eyes only, in a silver cage inside his tower.
Its incarceration has drastic effects on the kiss, on the elements and on the rich man’s mood, so much so that he returns what he’s taken to its rightful owner.

Instead of chastising him, Grandma shows him nothing but kindness, even bestowing upon him a mood-lifting farewell kiss.

I wonder what effects Edwyn’s big hug will have …

Linda Sunderland’s story is such a wonderful demonstration of how much more power for good a small act of kindness such as sharing has, than the grabbing greed of acquisition, as well as that It’s impossible to put a price on simple, heartfelt expressions of love.

Rising star Jessica’s illustrations are totally gorgeous; her delight in the natural world is evident in her vibrant, richly patterned scenes.

Christmas Gifts That Last – Magical Myths and Legends / The Story Orchestra: The Sleeping Beauty

 

Magical Myths and Legends
chosen by Michael Morpurgo
Oxford University Press

Former Children’s Laureate and award-winning author, Michael Morpurgo has chosen his favourite magical tales from all over the world for this bumper gift book of ten stories.

Morpurgo retells Gawain and the Green Knight himself and the other storytellers are Michaela Morgan, (3 tales), there’s a retelling of Icarus from Susan Gates; Jeanne Willis has versions of the wonderful legend from County Durham, The Lambton Worm, (one of my favourites) and a King Arthur adventure – The Giant of Mont Saint-Michel.
Both Thor and the Hammer and a tale of the Roman Fire God entitled Vulcan and the Fabulous Throne come from Tony Bradman while Finn MacCool and the Giant’s Causeway is a John Dougherty retelling.

Each tale is beautifully and distinctively illustrated providing nine different illustrators an opportunity to showcase their work.

Whether you prefer interfering fairies, talking frogs, or giant worms,

you’ll surely find something to enjoy in this timeless treat.

The Story Orchestra: The Sleeping Beauty
Jessica Courtney-Tickle and Katy Flint
Lincoln Children’s Books

The Christmas season is a time when families visit the theatre perhaps to see a pantomime or performance of a ballet such as the Sleeping Beauty. Here’s a book (the third of The Story Orchestra series) providing a musical journey into the classic ballet story with words and pictures to add to that magical theatrical experience; or to enjoy in its own right.

Each spread includes a ‘press here’ button that when pushed, plays a brief well-known excerpt of Tchaikovsky’s music.

We start with the party thrown by the King and Queen Florestan in celebration of the birth of their baby daughter princess Aurora.
Then in comes the Lilac Fairy with her gift-bearing fairy godmother troupe each of whom performs and bestows a gift.
Suddenly through the window comes the evil fairy Carabosse who places a curse on the infant princess.
The Lilac Fairy is able to modify this death curse with a good spell so that the Princess will fall asleep for 100 years, unless her true love awakens her with a kiss..
Sixteen years later as the Princess is celebrating her 16th birthday Carabosse returns; this time with a disguised spindle on which Aurora pricks her finger and falls asleep. Thereafter the hunt is on for someone who is able to break that evil curse

and the rest is fairy tale history …

The book concludes with notes on the composer and the ten soundscapes.

Beautifully illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle, this Story Orchestra presentation adds an additional sensory layer to the whole production.