David has just moved house; new surroundings without the support of familiar people. Perhaps if he can make a kite and join the children on the hill he will find friends. But does he have the right materials? Well, as his grandfather has always told him ‘Let’s see what we have already got…’
This is a beautiful picture book. The production values are outstanding, from the cover design across which the kites swoop and swirl, to the text, carefully placed on each spread, interacting with but never detracting from the images presented in a clear uncluttered font. The theme may be familiar, but it does not feel stale as the reader engages with David following his effort to make a kite, hoping it will work – but aware it may not; the design does not look right. The story is told with a poet’s sensitivity to words and rhythms – Simon Mole is indeed a poet. There are some lovely images – David’s toy ‘cars have forgotten how to drive’, he has to ‘scoop up his sadness’ when his home-made kite falls to the ground. These word images play across Oamul Lu’s illustrations which tell the same story but visually using colour and shape and the space created by each spread. Sometimes this takes the image across two pages as the kites fly over the street or climb the hill with David, sometimes the image is confined to one page reflecting a particular moment or maybe a small vignette, a detail. The colours, bold, textured, bring both these elements, words and pictures, to vivid life.
Here is a book to share as it touches on change and determination and encouraging empathy – bringing both an understanding of what it can feel like to be outside and to be disappointed, but also subtly how, as a group, to respond. It is an enjoyable story told with a richness of language and illustration that combine to make a truly satisfying whole.