One & Everything

One & Everything
Sam Winston
Walker Studio

Here’s something strange, a story about endangered languages. Its main characters are circles of various colours and sizes, every one contains symbols, characters and script from a living or extinct language, each representing a story. These include stories about ‘beautiful sunsets’, the bottom of the sea whereas some are ‘simply full of dogs.’

All seem to co-exist peaceably until one story decides to become the most important story in the world. It calls itself One, the Only story and goes around the world’s story-verse consuming each and every other story, and thus filling its belly.

Therein however, something is happening: some letters get together to make words and eventually a voice speaks thus, “… you’re not the One story then. You’re Every Story.” This causes the One to come to an understanding and it then explodes into a myriad of stories. What’s left is a question. “Maybe you can answer it, ‘ asks the author …

The telling thus far has been minimal but what follows is the author’s note. This describes in some detail first the importance of preserving endangered languages and then introduces us to the linguistic characters that are shown in the illustrations. I’m not sure who the intended audience for this picture book is, but this reviewer certainly found it interesting.

Cloud Forest

Cloud Forest
Victoria Turnbull
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

This is an absolutely beautiful, gentle but powerful story of love and of loss.

Umpa’s garden is the young child narrator’s favourite place, filled as it is with flowers and fruit trees. Umpa shows his grandchild how to plant seeds and watch them grow. He also plants stories in her mind, stories of imagined worlds – wonderful new places they can travel to together; places that, fuelled by the imagination can stay with you forever.

Time passes; Umpa grows older

and eventually he dies.

His distraught grandchild grieves, “The clouds had swallowed me whole’ she tells us.

Then one day, she remembers: his legacy lives on …

and he will always be there in her heart and in her memories of those treasured experiences they shared together.

Books and stories have transformative powers: Victoria’s new book is a wonderful reminder of that, showing some of the myriad ways those powers can help to heal, to bond people together, as well as to fuel the imagination. The softness of the story is evoked in her beautiful pastel colour palette, her graceful lines and the fluidity of her images. Do spend time on every spread; there is so much to see and feel.

A book to share and to cherish.