Margaret Wild’s text takes the form of a first-person narrative spoken by a girl standing alone on the shore. Who she is or where she’s come from we know not but as she spies two children and their parents, so she surmises, and a dog, a cat and a bird, she wonders who lives in the cottage close by, and wishes it was herself going on to talk of what she would do – ‘stir the soup, turn the pages of a book and stoke the fire so that all sleep warm and well’.
Using minimal colour, Jane Tanner’s atmospheric illustrations immerse us in a strange, sometimes surreal visual story wherein light and dark play a powerful part as we see ethereal moonlit images from both outside and inside perspectives. That these scenes are full bleed has a truly mesmeric effect and serves to heighten the mystery of the whole literary experience, a mystery that is left unsolved with the reader pondering upon whether perhaps the speaker is a ghost, a sleepwalker or perhaps a wandering soul that is lost or stranded between worlds.
For teachers of older children especially, this enigmatic book is rich in potential.