Review Blog

Nov 17 2020

Ernie's journey by David Woodland

cover image

Berbay Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9780648785149.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. The spotlight falls on the power of storytelling in this new book from Berbay which publishes 'clever books for curious kids'. Woodland, a debut author uses his considerable skills honed in the film and animation industries to produce a story which highlights the way in which the telling of stories can influence others. Eli loves listening to Uncle Ernie, especially his stories about his travels and adventures. He has been hang gliding over the Great Dismal Swamp, used a cactus mobile to cross the Gobi Desert, skated across Antarctica and now home, wearing his bed socks and glasses, tells his nephews and nieces about his adventures. Eli asks him about one particular adventure, that of helping the occyphants and so the story unfolds of how Uncle Ernie helped them stop floating in the air with a simple change to their diet. Eli then asks for a story he has not heard before, and Uncle Ernie tells him about the chameleon mice. Eli then responds telling his own story about his big adventure with a giant crab, and when the cousins question the truthfulness of the story, Uncle Ernie points out the two large crab claw scratches on Eli's shell.
Uncle Ernie then tells the children of the time he was in the cave with the snakes and spiders, where all you could do was run away.
Each story focusses on a different type of adventure: helping others, testing your endurance, being creative and knowing when to retreat.
Uncle Ernie gives Eli his golden compass with which to go on his own adventures, and so he does, following in Uncle Ernie's footsteps and seeing the stories for himself.
Children will envisage a future where he now rests in his bed socks and tells an appreciative audience of his adventures.
This delightful tale of the power of storytelling, of imagination and creativity will be a hit read aloud to younger children. They will delight in the unusual creatures and machines Uncle Ernie meets, the adventures he has, the problems he solves.
The curiously understated illustrations with whiffs of Shaun Tan, Steven Woolman and Paul O'Sullivan, are engrossing in their detail and array of creatures which kids will love finding. I loved the compass endpapers and the scary caves in which the snakes and spiders lived and so will the readers.
Find out more about David Woodland and his work on the author's site.
Themes: Courage, Storytelling, Adventure, Family.
Fran Knight

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