This title is one of the latest additions to a series that aims to bridge the gap between picture books and chapter books by presenting a contemporary story with full colour Illustrations throughout. The lyrical tale of lonely, brave Alma who longs to explore and protect the exciting forest world beyond her narrow town has themes of hope, courage, friendship and connection and ably fulfils the publisher’s aim of presenting children with diverse stories of global appeal. Alma befriends a frightened bear cub and, when the two are driven away from their home by frightened, angry adults, Alma and her beloved Star Bear find other children and animals like themselves and seek a home and freedom in an expansive treetop Sworld.
Child and adult readers will enjoy sharing this simple seeming story with its appealing and vibrant illustrations and will recognise echoes of a troubled present- day world in which children must resist and break through the fears, prejudices and boundaries that adults try to force upon them. This is a small book with big themes, accessible and moving, suitable for sharing or for newly independent readers. The immersive illustrations beautifully portray the strong relationship between children and animals, the lush jungle setting and the emotions of the characters and combine with the text to present a thought-provoking story about friendship and tolerance to young readers.