Review Blog

Jun 27 2013

Hold on tight by Sara Acton

cover image

Scholastic, 2012. ISBN 9781742833491
(Age: 4+) Warmly recommended. Picture book. Family. Imagination. Being safe. Seasons. On this cold winter's day I have read several books which have made me feel chilled to the bone. A bear and a tree is set in the snowy icy landscape where Bear is about to get into his den for hibernation, while this one concerns a young child on a wintry day holding her mother's hand as they walk through the landscape. Both books are full of the cold, wintry season, with snowflakes, rain, ice and wind tearing across each page.
When the girl's mother reminds her to hold on tight, the child wonders what would happen if she did not hold on tight, and so a range of wonderful excursions are imagined. Each double page spread shows a different adventure, told in two rhyming sentences with glorious illustrations reflecting and adding to the words. Ink and watercolour are used to great effect as the sparsely filled ink drawings reflect movement and a sense of the ephemeral nature of the season. On one double page for example, the child sits on a branch having afternoon tea with a bird, while over the page she floats on high, hanging onto a sycamore seed as it floats to the earth. Coming back to earth with Mum holding her hand, the child determines that she will not blow away today.
A charming introduction to the idea of using one's imagination, or discussions about safe behaviour, or being with Mum and why she wants to hold your hand, this lovely story will be used for a variety of reasons by teachers and parents, not least of which is that it is a beautiful rhyming story, well told, with evocative illustrations. Fran Knight

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