Spirit of hope by Bob Graham

cover image

Lothian, 2008.
(Age 5-7) Recommended. This is an uplifting book that warms the heart. The Fairweather family, a loving group, is always optimistic and cheerful. Dad works at the local factory and six days a week comes home to be welcomed with lots of attention from his large family. On the seventh day the family heads off to the docks for a picnic and one day they see a large ship, The spirit of hope, which has come from a faraway port. Then devastating news arrives: they have to move out of their house because it is going to be demolished to make room for a matchstick factory. All the Fairweather's friends gather around and help them search for a new home, but it seems hopeless until Mary's toy inspires them with a brilliant idea.
This delightful story is beautifully complemented by the illustrations, which bring the family, all their different characteristics, their love for each other and their surroundings alive in a most satisfying way. Colour is used really effectively to pinpoint the emotions of joy and spirit of hope of the family and the despair that occurs when all seems lost. Observant readers will notice Mary's toy and may guess the solution to the family's problems, while others will be pulled along by the descriptions of the fun loving family and their activities and will have fun looking back on the pictures.

This would be a good book to read aloud and the themes of love, family life, using your imagination and ingenuity could result in interesting class discussions.
Pat Pledger