On the 10th of December the postman gave to me – a big box full of amazing book goodies! These were gifted by the wonderful people at Tandem Collective UK and WalkerBooks.
(to view my highlights of the readalong on instagram: click here)
In the box of amazingness were:
- 2 copies of Where Snow Angels Go by Maggie O’Farrell (illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini), a piece of artwork from the book and wrapping paper based on the book’s endpapers
- Will You Be My Friend by Sam McBratney (illustrated by Anita Jeram) and a piece of artwork from the book
- Santa Post by Emma Yarlett
- Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Halls (illustrated by David Litchfield)
- Ella’s Night Lights by Lucy Fleming
The readalong took place on Instagram, where Tandem made a chat for discussion and sharing content with fellow bookfriends taking part in the readalong. Unfortunately I missed some of the chat and even posting on the scheduled days, as my dog suddenly passed away the same week.
But when I caught up at the tail end of the readalong, I was so blown away with the whole experience. The books kindly provided alongside everyone’s creative and delightful posts sharing their enthusiasm.
Ella’s Night Lights
I started my read with Ella’s Night Lights as one of my fellow reader’s expressed it was their favourite so far.
This is such a kind natured story, that leaves you feeling light as a feather and joyful. I think it’ll teach children of all ages to be considerate of their friends and others in general. It’s a story of compassion, friendship and above all kindness. The illustrations are charming and soothing with beautiful woodland animals and sparkly night skies – the perfect bedtime read.
To buy Ella’s Night Lights, click here.
Rain Before Rainbows
Next up was Rain Before Rainbows. This book! Honestly, it never fails to surprise me how certain books arrive/are read at the exact time in life they’re needed. This book was exactly what I needed and I’ve actually read it three times in the space of the week! It continues to mesmerise and comfort me each time. I cannot thank Tandem and WalkerBooks enough for gifting me this book, as well as the genius of the author and illustrator. I’ll cherish this book for years to come.
This book is packed with colourful and enchanting illustrations and a beautiful poetic story. The story acknowledges life isn’t always peachy, but hope is found all around in everything. The illustrations made me think of cosmology and mythology at times, then in the next breath woodlands and wild animals. It’s truly stunning. The story’s lyricism rendered me speechless by how moving and deep it was – that even in the darkest moments light will return. It’s very bright and uplifting, and is easily a book I’ll happily reread again and again! And I wholeheartedly recommend for children of all ages.
To buy Rain Before Rainbows, click here.
I was nervous about which book I read next, because I was still on cloud nine about Rain Before Rainbows, surely nothing could live up to this one’s brilliance? Alas, I shouldn’t have worried! Santa Post really got me feeling super Christmassy and is exactly what you imagine or want in a Christmas story. Colourful, exciting and an all round treat.
Santa Post is such a jolly, colourful and festive book. I loved the interactive elements of opening doors which is perfect for children. Like all the best festive tales, there’s calamity afoot at the North Pole in the run up to Christmas. I really loved this book included adult elements of humour too, like Santa burning his shirt. I didn’t expect this to be as humorous as it was to the point I was chuckling at numerous points.
I would say there were points where the font was slightly difficult to read with my eyesight problems, due to small font and really similar coloured fonts on similar coloured backing, which might be useful to know for someone else.
I had a few wee tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face by the book’s end. I love how the story has so much going on in roughly 28 pages – there’s a lot of teamwork, helpfulness and encouragement of creativity.
I think this could be developed into a great Christmas film or Christmas short in the right hands. A new festive tradition of a yearly read has been found here! Must have for children at Christmas!
To buy Santa Post, click here.
Will You Be My Friend?
I decided to read Will You Be My Friend? next, and leave Where Snow Angels Go to the end. I was actually surprised at how this story felt like Easter in December!
This book is a companion story to Guess How Much I Love You?… I liked it, but did find it very simplistic, which is fine when considering its audience is children (in my opinion the youngest of children). It reminded me of growing up as an only child and has brought back memories of trying to amuse myself when there was no other kids around. I think this is a nice, bright book that would be the perfect Easter treat as the story focuses on sweet rabbits and the illustrations are very reminiscent of springtime.
Where Snow Angels Go
And last but by no means least, Where Snow Angels Go by Maggie O’Farrell. This is the longest, and in my opinion most advanced book gifted in the package.
Where Snow Angels Go is a longer than average children’s picture book, telling the story of Sylvie and her Snow Angel. Sylvie is made aware of the existence of Snow Angels, namely her personal Snow Angel, when something happens that makes her need the help of her own Snow Angel.
This is quite a deep story that unfolds in a rich manner, which I think is rather unusual in the sphere of children’s picture books. It is an encouraging story that did at times feel a little confusing due to how richly it’s told, to the point I fear its messages may go over some children’s heads. Because of this I definitely felt the story has an advanced feel to it, even though it’s aimed at children.
Sylvie and her Snow Angel encourage inquisitiveness, which I really liked, as challenges the reader’s imagination to conjure maybe how our own Snow Angel would look, and also makes us think about science and existential questions.
I like how at the heart of the story is the message of support, which in the times we’re living in and with the festive season upon us, everyone could be doing with remembering. Moreover, I think it has the beautiful effect of providing comfort to children across the world who experience ailing health to see themselves in Sylvie and not feel so alone.
The illustrations are breathtaking and extremely comforting. They achieved bringing the story to life in way that makes it feel impossible to think of the story without imagining the pictures of Sylvie and her Snow Angel.
Where Snow Angels Go is a magical and imaginative story that makes the reader think about what is possible, to marvel and wonder at the world and what’s around us, all while reminding us of to care about one another in the ride that is life, with the most beautiful illustrations providing an extra touch of lustre.
Also, I’d like to take a moment to say a massive congratulations to Maggie O’Farrell and the publishers for winning Waterstones Book of the Year, with Hamlet, which now has a stunning new edition of the book available to celebrate the win. I’ve already bought my copy – I’m a sucker for special editions – don’t miss it!
I had so much fun reading these books, and I’m still stunned and beyond grateful to Tandem Collective UK and WalkerBooks for gifting all of us these beautiful books. In my case, these books really helped brighten up my world when it was being hit by an unexpected thunderstorm. The kindness of the people involved in providing and arranging this campaign really meant the world and from the bottom of my heart I thank you all.
As always, I hope everyone is keeping well and safe, and is looking forward to the festive season, however you’re spending it! I’d definitely recommend asking Santa to leave some of these books under your tree, if your wanting some lighthearted escapism.
Thanks for reading! Happy weekend!