Barrington Stoke produce some of the very best short, accessible stories by some of the very best current children’s authors. Although specially produced to be easy on the eye for dyslexic readers, their brilliant collection is perfect for anyone who enjoys short, pacey reads. Lisa Thompson’s debut for Barrington Stoke fits in perfectly.
Owen and his mum are struggling now that it’s just the two of them. His mum spends her days on the sofa watching the tv with glazed eyes, barely eating and although Owen’s trying his best to help her, he’s finding it difficult to keep the house running.
One day, he accidentally stumbles across a statue of a stone soldier quietly crumbling away in an unloved war memorial garden in the disused local park. The soldier quickly becomes a confidant for Owen, so when he hears of the council’s plans to regenerate the park and remove the statue Owen knows that he has to muster up all of his courage to save him.
Lisa has deftly woven together several sensitive issues into one compact but emotional story. Themes of depression, loss and young carers are all carefully explored in the realistic but reassuring manner apparent in all Lisa’s books.
Stories like this are vital provide children with opportunities to explore situations and emotions which might be similar to their own, within the safe space of a story. Hopefully, it might encourage them to start a dialogue with someone who could offer support and would certainly provide a parent or teacher with a means with which to start a possibly difficult conversation.
As with all Lisa’s stories, there’s a revelation which had me in need of a tissue (luckily I had been warned so had one handy) but I think all good writing needs to make you feel something, whether that’s sadness or happiness, and that children need to be permitted to feel this way too. I’d recommend this for readers aged 8+.
I’m thrilled to see an author as brilliant as Lisa adding her name to the Barrington Stoke roster and can’t wait to see any future collaborations.
*Thank you to Barrington Stoke for sending me this title to review*