I have two exceptionally lovely picture books here this week, they are both from writer/illustrators, and they both have their protagonists looking down from a window to commence.  Without further ado, here are my reviews.

A River by Marc Martin

The river slinks, aqua and serpentine through the city, as a child looks down from her window and imagines floating away in a silver boat, wondering where she would end up.  In her imagination she flows with the river beyond the choke of cars and industry, to a patchwork of fields beyond, and then hills and valleys, down great waterfalls to a jungle verdant with life, and finally to an ocean teeming with fish and colour, through the dark night that storms in a tumble reminiscent of the hurricane in The Wizard of Oz, to return her to the safety of her bedroom.

As with his book A Forest, reviewed here, each page is more frame-worthy than the one before, and this is a sweet, simple love song to the power of imagination, with the authors usual green message in there too.

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Hasel and Rose by Caroline Magerl

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The story of Hasel and Rose doesn’t come to you immediately.  You have to read it several times over, but as any parent would know, that doesn’t really present an obstacle when it comes to children’s books.  Australian writer and illustrator Caroline Magerl weaves a sweet tale, conceived with a heart of poetry (my favourite type).  Little Rose has moved to a new house in a new town, and as she gazes down from her window, she wishes an indefinable wish.  As she does, some magic moves on the other side of the ocean, a parcel with the corners of the stamps not quite licked down begins a journey.

Rose’s family try to cheer her up with stories and games and love, but Rose’s tiny girl melancholy will not shift until, one day they go to search for the elusive wish down at the beach, and fish a soggy parcel out.  Inside is a soft toy,

She took the wish thing home….by cardigan.  On the way, she thought of a name.  Hasel was made with tiny stitches, and inside her was a red glass heart for finding things small and far away.’

Hasel the wish gives Rose back her own brave heart, and so they stop looking down at the street from the window, and go down to make a best friend.

I love the gentle sway of the words, and Caroline Magerl’s delicate, whimsical illustrations.  If you like this book, you will probably also like My Heart, reviewed here.

Images of Hasel and Rose from Caroline Magerl’s site, and the cover image is the original, which is different to the copy that I have here.

Linking up with Grace for #FYBF