Review Blog

Nov 11 2015

Adelaide's secret world by Elise Hurst

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Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781743313350
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Courage, Loneliness, Friendship, City life. The soft edged illustrations will thrill the readers as they see the story of Adelaide finding her partner played out before them. Adelaide works in a little shop in the city. As the workforce reduces she is left alone.
She continues to make her little sculptures, but watches as people come and go outside. At night she sits on the roof watching the stars, by day she watches ships come into the port, and sees the quiet ones like her, those who dream alone.
But one day she becomes restless and goes out into the city. When a storm develops she sees Fox drop his book, and picking it up, runs after him to return it. She cannot speak to him, but the astute reader will have noticed the image of the Fox in pages before. She leaves and returning home the wind swirls her around, and she makes the courageous step of going back to Fox's house.
A charming story of taking the first step, of making a decision, of taking a chance, this book will intrigue readers wishing for an end to Adelaide's loneliness. The illustrations bring the city vividly to life, with its sky hugging buildings, bridge spans, and swirl of people, interspersed with small gardens with statues, and people riding bikes, reading or dancing. Several pages ring with the loneliness city life can impose on its inhabitants: the arch of umbrellas, the tall buildings, the small alleyways and the cafe where people sit alone.
But resolute Adelaide takes a risk, changing her life and that of Fox for the better, instilling hope in the mind of the reader.
Fran Knight

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