Paperback, 66 pages
Published March 18th, 2016 by Abela Publishing
If you’re thinking: “What the heck, this isn’t a graphic novel?!”, then yes, you’re absolutely right; it’s a children’s book. It has wonderful illustrations, though, so I had no doubts whatsoever about replacing a regular Graphic Fridays-post with this one.
There are 35 books in Sarah Hill’s enchanting Whimsy Wood children’s series for 5-8-year-olds. These are divided into 5 sets of 7 books. Every wonderfully descriptive book is written for a specific month in the calendar, so the flora and fauna within this magical wood, change as you read through the series. There is also a proverb or saying woven into every story for the reader to find, giving these delightful books real meaning.
Accompanying the charming text are Sarah Mauchline’s beautiful illustrations, which complement Sarah Hill’s imaginative stories perfectly. Finally, at the back of each book, is an incomplete Whimsy Wood map for the child to fill in, using their imagination and what they have learned from the story.
“Meet Fearne Fairy! She loves to sing and fly but is hopeless at landing! Come on this next exciting adventure in Whimsy Wood with Fearne and the delightful woodland folk, in which sharing and teamwork play a crucial role in solving Fearne’s dilemma…”
Let me start by saying that I love, love, LOVE stories that involve woodland animals, so I’m already biased just by looking at the cover. I still can’t walk through a forest without imagining there are little fairies, gnomes and cozy animal houses. The Wind in the Willows is probably my all time favourite book mainly because of this. It won’t come as a surprise that I fell in love with the Whimsy Wood right away either. This is one of the first illustrations:
I’m feeling so much love for this!
Ahum, then there’s the story itself of course. Fearne is an adorable little fairy. After landing rather unfortunately from a short (literal) flight down the stairs, she’s in desperate need for some of her sorehead-fixing dandelion drink. When Fearne discovers she’s all out of the special brew, she goes on a search for dandelions to make some more.
This is one great book to read to your children while they can be in awe of the illustrations. The font is big and the text simple enough for 5-8-year-olds (and up) to read by themselves. If I had any children or if I was working with children, these books would be a great asset to getting them excited about reading while learning the importance of a few social skills as well. I’m even contemplating on ordering the entire series in hardback format, just for myself, and to admire them on and off a bookshelf.
The only downside I could find is that the book info promises 66 pages, yet only delivers about 45 of them, storywise. There are quite a few blank pages or entire pages dedicated to a one of the previous books in the series, as well as internet links. If it were up to me, I’d trim it down a little, pagewise, by putting more information on one page instead of spreading it out so extensively. And/or add a few more pages of storyline, of course. The more, the better!
There’s a bunny wearing flip-flops in here. I probably would’ve given these 4 brownies for that alone already.
A big thank you to Sarah Hill for providing me with a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review!
10% of the authors royalty from the sale of this book will be donated to the Wildlife Trusts.
~About the Author~
Sarah Hill is a small animal Vet and the children’s author and creator of The Whimsy Wood Series. She gained her Veterinary Medicine
degree at Bristol University in 1999 and worked
in practice for 10 years. At that point she had her second daughter and soon after, she decided to take a career break.
Sarah continues to write her children’s series, ‘Whimsy Wood’, at home in Wiltshire, UK, with her husband, two daughters, a baby son, two dogs, two cats and ‘a partridge in a pear tree’!
~About the Illustrator~
Sarah Mauchline has been illustrating from a young age and it has always been her
passion. She has illustrated for both children’s books and for the crafting industry. Her three young children are an inspiration when it comes to drawing and she will always seek their approval upon completion of an illustration.Her style is fun, colourful and unique which compliments the wonderfully creative Whimsy Wood literature.
You can find Sarah on Twitter.