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.

Raven Child and The Snow Witch

Raven Child and the Snow Witch
Linda Sunderland and Daniel Egnéus
Templar Publishing
Right from its textured sparkly cover, there’s something of a Russian folk tale feel to this magical, chilling story of love, loss and bravery, from debut picture book author, Linda Sunderland, and illustrator Daniel Egnéus.
Travel with me over frozen lakes and shimmery mountains and through the Forest of a Thousand Eyes to the Snow Garden, home of young Anya and her parents. Despite her chilly surroundings, Anya is kept warm by the dress of feathers woven for her by her friends the ravens whose language she has learned. On the first day of spring Anya’s mother sets out towards the glacier on a mission to collect gentian flowers, her daughter’s favourites, accompanied only by the ravens.

 

Anya and her father remain at home and after a while, the child falls sleep and dreams. She dreams of hearing her mother’s voice telling of her capture by the Snow Witch and this is followed by terrible news from one of the ravens that had gone with her mother.
Anya tends him and listens to his story. What he tells her has father and daughter setting out next morning on a frightening and dangerous journey together in search of Anya’s missing parent.

 

It turns out though, as the two learn during the course of their journey, that Anya’s mother is not the only person missing: a whole village’s children have been stolen away. Anxious not to waste time waiting for the villagers, Anya, accompanied only by the raven she’s named Broken Wing and Half Tail (a fox rescued on the way) travels on, until finally they come upon tell-tale signs that their search has brought them to the right place.

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Deep inside the glacier, Anya must confront her deepest fears; but is she a match for the Snow Witch? Can she rescue her mother and the children from the clutches of the evil woman …
Totally enchanting from cover to cover, this book will grip you right from its introductory verses to Anya’s final flight with the ravens. Daniel Egnéus’ haunting scenes of icy and snowy landscapes and Anya’s encounters with the animals she befriends are spell-bindingly beautiful.