Thursday, 28 August 2014
Review: On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's
Format: Hardcover / large paperback / eBook
Released: August 28th, 2014
Birt and Etho are best friends. Together they play on Sudden Hill, making marvellous contraptions out of cardboard boxes. But then a new boy, Shu, wants to join in too. Etho is happy to welcome him. Birt isn't so sure. Eaten up with jealousy, he goes home and refuses to come out to play. Until Etho and Shu come to his house with the most marvellous cardboard contraption so far...
On Sudden Hill is my first encounter with Linda Sarah and Benji Davies but I hope it won't be my last. The illustrations in this book are brilliant, the writing is heartfelt and, combined, they make for one heck of a good picture book.
On Sudden Hill deals with friendship and jealousy, and especially those times when we're young and we have to open our lives to new people. Things can't always stay the same, which is what Birt and Etho learn when a new boy called Shu wants to join in with their cardboard box games on Sudden Hill. Etho is immediately welcoming to Shu, but Birt doesn't like the idea of two becoming three, of sharing his best friend with someone else. It's an age-old lesson we all learn eventually, and Linda Sarah really captures that feeling of sadness and, ultimately, understanding and acceptance.
Benji Davies's illustrations are so lovely, perfectly rendering Birt, Etho and Shu as they turn cardboard boxes into hours of fun. Their imaginations run wild, creating monsters and dragon-slayers, and the artwork showing this is some of the nicest I've seen. It's got a retro feel to it too, appearing simple and understated but hiding so much more behind the colours and depictions. It's really nice work.
On Sudden Hill is the perfect read for younger children, especially those about to start nursery or even school. It teaches the art of sharing and being kind, showing that you can meet your very best friends if only you give them a chance. A lovely book from start to finish.