Review Blog

Nov 18 2015

In the evening by Edwina Wyatt

cover image

Ill. by Gaye Chapman. Little Hare, 2015. ISBN 9781742975283
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Friendship; Overcoming obstacles in friendship; Shyness; Making Friends. I loved the text in this book - it is a lovely story of the discovery of friendship between Oscar and Charlie, despite the anxious misgivings of Oscar. Their isolation from one another eventually is overcome by simple acts of kindness, even though they are not initially well-received. They both become concerned for each other - without ever having met. The poetic start to the first few pages allows a tender introduction to the difficulties of the characters living relatively lonely and separated lives. However, the illustrations could have done so much more in connecting this gentle plot-line to a child's understanding. The illustrations are inspired by an Emily Dickinson poem: 'There's a Certain Slant of Light' and are atmospheric, muted interpretations of the text using watercolour washes and eccentric pencil drawings of animal characters with a few 'splatters' of light added. Although I admire the intention, I am surprised the Publisher and/or Illustrator did not aim for a more realistic visual portrayal that children could connect to more easily. Overcoming anxiety and beginning a friendship with a shy friend would have resonated so much more obviously with a more realistic choice of illustration style, although I recognise the 'poetry' of the image as well as the lyrical text.
Worth reading for the beauty of the writing alone.
Carolyn Hull

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