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This issue’s cover is from a stunning new picture book, Mary’s Secret by David McKee (Andersen Press, 0 86264 909 9, £9.99). An ecological fable about doing without cars, McKee’s story with its bright pictures full of well observed detail is set within Mary’s cheerful family and at her school. His bold, painterly illustrations use the page so confidently and dextrously that their quirky, decorative perspectives seem entirely natural. Thanks to Andersen Press for their help in producing this September cover.
The star people, having spoilt their world, have moved on to a new one. As the book opens, Ben, a native, is forced to abandon his land and his customs. Barely escaping the clutches of the state, his group finally makes it to the reservation. This first section is full of humour but succeeding ones, following the fortunes of later generations, have a harder edge as the central characters strive to be accepted in the 'modern' world. But as they get closer to acceptance that the world is falling apart, the star people are moving on. Linni, the hero of the final section, is left to reverse the movement of the opening and rediscover her roots. This is a moral tale skilfully told.