This fast-moving picture book tells a story that will have enormous appeal for young children. The illustrations, with a sharp clean line against colourful background washes, are full of life and movement. The book is about trust: should you believe what people say? Two fledglings astonish each other with their claims. The swallow, Apollo, thinks it unlikely that his friend Clack, the blackbird, will change from brown to black as he says he will. ‘I don’t believe you,’ says Apollo. Clack finds it equally difficult to accept Apollo’s confidence that he will soon fly with all the other swallows to Africa. Then, looking at Clack’s nest in a tree covered in white blossom, Apollo is amazed to hear his friend say: ‘One day the tree will be covered in tasty orange berries’.
Children will also learn about transformation; Clack does indeed change from brown to black and Apollo flies to Africa. Clack sends a message to his friend via a dolphin, a camel, a crocodile and a monkey who all try to help.
The device of the message helps communicate the distance the fledgling swallow flies and the variety of terrain over which it travels. It shows also, amusingly, how a message can change as it passes from person to person.
What does the message say? ‘Come to the Tree!’ Clack wants to show his friend the tree covered in orange berries. A simply perfect picture book for the pre-school and nursery years.