Review Blog

Aug 30 2010

FArTHER by Grahame Baker-Smith

cover image

Templar, 2010. ISBN 9781848771260.
(Age 5+) Highly recommended. Grahame Baker-Smith, an illustrator who was short-listed for the Kate Greenaway award in 2010, has written and illustrated a wonderful and memorable book that could become a future classic. A father, who lives high on a cliff overlooking a stormy sea, has a dream of flying. He makes beautiful wings of paper and feathers, but never quite manages to fly. Sometimes when he isn't preoccupied with his dream of flight and air, he scoops his son up and they play along the beach. He always returns to his dream until the day that he is called up to war, never to return. His son decides to make his dream come true and manages to soar across the sea.
This picture book is a work of art with its stunning illustrations using collage, photographs and drawings. The pictures range from beautiful double page illustrations to graphic novel type squares. The sky and clouds are in beautiful soft blues while the boy and his father are in rich browns.  My favourite is of a beautiful flowering tree that the boy and his mother planted to remember the father.
The story is thought provoking and looks at the power of dreams and how they can become reality with determination and hard work.  It also examines the relationship between father and son and the continuity of dreams. It is a book that draws the reader back again and again to examine the ideas and delight in the illustrations and imagination that produced such a powerful book.
This is a picture book that deserves a place on the shelves of all libraries.
Pat Pledger

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