Umbrella - Elena Arevalo Melville
This is a lovely book with messages of kindness, sharing, compassion, hope and possibility.
Following a girl called Clara as she moves through a park, we encounter a variety of characters facing problems. Starting with Clara herself, who is lonely, and has no-one to play with, a 'worn but very special' umbrella that can talk provides solutions throughout the book in magical and wonderful ways, with the message of 'Anything is possible' at it's centre.
From an elephant that helps pick apples for the elderly gent in a wheelchair who can't do it himself anymore, to the appearance of a cat to play with for Clara, the message of 'Anything is possible' is repeated after each 'solution' throughout the book, as the umbrella solves all the problems encountered.
I loved the beautiful illustrations, full of colour and movement, that added to the sense of magic through the tale, and I loved the inclusion of a 'baddie' -the fox that steals the umbrella for his own nefarious purposes (greed), only to see the error of his ways when his wish doesn't go to plan...
The 'Thank you's' from each character (even the fox!) add even more value to the book's messages of help, care and gratitude, and I loved the way that the book moved from Clara's opening 'The park would have been perfect...' on the first page to 'The park was absolutely perfect' on the explosively-colourful penultimate page.
I talked about this book on a recent online education discussion (#BrewEdFindYourVoice - watch back at https://www.pscp.tv/w/1jMKgXdbVaXGL from 1hr 04mins in) and can't wait to use it in school - it's beautiful in both form and message.
Thank you to Scallywag Press for the review copy of the book (https://www.scallywagpress.com/ and @Scallywagpress on Twitter).
Elana Arevalo Melville won 2020's 'The Queen's Knickers Award' for this book- find out more at https://www.societyofauthors.org/Prizes/Society-of-Authors-Awards/The-Queens-Knickers-Award
She can be found on Twitter as @sketch_booking and via her website http://www.elenaarevalomelville.com/
Review by Rich Simpson (@richreadalot) August 2020