Corrinne Averiss and Kirsti Beautyman
Words & Pictures
Young Tess is part of a loving family – love surrounds her like the ‘light inside one of Daddy’s little houses.’
However, when the time comes for her to start school, the worries creep in. School is big and scary – nothing like that warm scarf that she feels wrapping around her when she goes out with her parents. Will the love still find her?
Her mother tries reassuring her saying as they part by the gate, that love will still find her even when they’re apart “like a string between us – it can stretch as far as it needs to.”
Tess though isn’t sure. Her understanding teacher offers some comfort – ‘Tess noticed a little thread between them. That felt nice.’
Little by little she continues discovering new strings of connectedness, friendship and love throughout the day.
Come hometime though, the anxiety returns when her mother is late to collect her.: that string doesn’t appear to be connecting Tess to anything or anyone. Finally, however, there with an explanation and a string-fixing hand, stands Mummy and all is well once more.
Enormously reassuring for young children who experience separation anxiety, Corrinne cleverly uses the string trope to make tangible the bond between loved ones in her story. But she makes it all the more impactful – love connects us no matter the distance between us – with her own ‘candle house’, ‘warm scarf and other metaphors. Employing a limited colour palette to great effect, Kirsti Beautyman’s sequence of textured illustrations are full of feeling, be that love, tenderness, worry, or empathy.