Elena Arevalo Melville. London: Scallywag Press, hb. 978 1 9126 5001 9, 2019, £12.99, 32pp.
Picture book, fiction, 5-8 years
Lonely Clara has no one to play with until she finds an umbrella in the park. The umbrella literally speaks to her and she has someone to play with. But Clara isn’t greedy and whilst playing with her new friend, the cat, she uses the umbrella for the good of others.
They begin to believe that ‘anything is possible’ a repeated phrase throughout. However, there is someone lurking in the background who can see how the umbrella might benefit him but he is treated to a lesson in life that makes him re-evaluate what he has, as ‘anything is possible’!
The illustrations are very bold and expressive. Colour and black and white drawings juxtapose the emotions portrayed. There is a slightly surreal feeling surrounding the talking umbrella yet it is totally believable in this setting. The use of chalks and charcoal create movement within the story and create a feel good factor as the reader progresses through it. The varying sizes and boldness of the text encourage reading ‘out loud’ in a heart warming story encompassing many themes including loneliness, sharing, kindness, greed and understanding. All of which create great discussion points with young audiences.
Review by Dr. Karenanne Knight