This fabulous tale is super-sized in keeping with its main character, a bald, cave-dwelling and highly destructive loner, who spends his days in such pastimes as tree uprooting and mountain smashing; and his nights – once the forest has all but disappeared and its inhabitants departed – pondering the silence, alone. He recalls the birdsong that filled the erstwhile forest and notes the lack of firewood before a tiny flame.
Then one day a little yellow bird happens by, intent on following the giant and singing to him as he continues plundering all that remains of the forest. Delighted with its song, the giant captures the bird, puts her in a cage and takes her back to his cave for company. The bird grows sadder day by day and eventually stops singing altogether; and it’s then that the giant has a change of heart. With an apology, he releases the yellow bird and she flies far away. As the giant searches for her, he sees the barren lands everywhere – the outcome of his destructive doings, and resolves to make recompense right away. He works and works, sowing and mending, planting and nurturing; and then, he waits. Gradually, little by little the forest regrows and wildlife returns; and with it, his feathered companion to fill his days, and the forests, with song.
Sophie Ambrose is a highly talented newcomer to the picture book scene with this her debut book; it’s absolutely beautiful and its vital themes of respecting the environment, freedom and friendship have much to say to everyone small and large, both individuals and organisations. What’s next? – I’m eager to see.