Book Monsters is primarily a children’s book blog it’s true but today we are giving some space among the pages to munch on a book for adults for a change (although not completely unrelated as you’ll see when you hopefully read on). This is Beautiful Trees written by Nik Perring, illustrated by Miranda Sofroniou and published by Roast Books.
I am a huge fan of picture books with regards to reading them aloud to children in the library, but also as an adult. Some of the most touching books I’ve read have been picture books and so I strongly believe children’s picture books can be enjoyed by anyone at all. The combination of illustration, colour and words make for a complete and enchanting reading experience. So why should reading books like this stop when we grow up? Why are short illustrated fiction books sucked from our reading lives? We are thrust into a world of words, which as a book lover I adore, but sometimes, just sometimes, I want something else.
For that “something else” Nik Perring is your man! He’s a renowned flash fiction writer, (having been published multiple times in the UK and abroad), a teacher, editor and very lovely to boot! Beautiful Trees is the second book in his Beautiful trilogy, the first being Beautiful Words, and the final instalment will be the eagerly anticipated Beautiful Shapes. Reading Beautiful Words is not completely necessary to your enjoyment of Beautiful Trees, but I would really recommend getting it too, as it’s a truly stunning piece of writing and does also help to explain some additional aspects of this story, and to be honest, they make a lovely little set.
Nik’s Beautiful series of books aren’t just books with pictures, they are pieces of art, an education and most of all they are heartfelt writing at its best. Beautiful Trees follows the story of Alexandra and Lily’s relationship, but what is so fantastically clever about the book, is the way in which their story parallels and intertwines with their love of a huge variety of different and beautiful trees.
Trees are our life source, not only that but they bring freshness, colour and joy into our sometimes grey concrete jungle. Living in Sheffield, I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by parkland full of the most beautiful trees, and I don’t stop to appreciate them enough. Can we even begin to imagine what our world would look, or be like, without them? Nik has managed to write a book worshipping these trees and love simultaneously, a mixture of truths and fictions. Each page focuses on a different tree, maybe a fact or a legend told about it, which is invariably hugely fascinating! This is then incredibly, and seamlessly merged with Alexander and Lily’s life and relationship together. Unbelievably clever, unexpected and quite inspired actually!
Nik’s writing style here is poetic, gentle and swaying like the multitude of trees in the book, making it very relaxing to read, and yet, the story will also clench your heart in a vice like grip and sprint away with it.
Of course, Nik is a fantastically talented author, but I also love that this book is about more than the writing. Miranda Sofroniou brings Nik’s words to life with her stunningly beautiful artwork. Each page has a completely different atmosphere … and a beautiful tree of course. The playful simplistic style of Miranda’s expertly executed illustrations give the story even more weight, throwing colour (a soft natural palette) and emotion onto each page.
We really need more adult books like this, with illustrations to enhance the story visually and take it up onto another plane. Illustrated flash fiction like this is not only an absolute joy to read and view, but accessible to more than just your enthusiastic word lover!
I’m reluctant to give away much about the development of this story, as it is heart making and heart breaking all at the same time. You need to read this for yourself to experience the same ride of emotions that I went through, and I defy you not to shed maybe just a tear or two.
Beautiful Trees is a difficult book to sum up and do full justice to within a single blog post. I am very emotionally attached to this little gem of a story and would just rather invite you all round for tea and cakes to discuss it in person. That is what this wonderfully creative and heartfelt book truly deserves.
To find out more about Nik Perring he has a really great blog:
To find out more about Miranda Sofroniou her gorgeous website is:
You can order the Beautiful series from Roast Books at the following link:
Finally, thank you for reading this long, but hopefully rather beautiful, Book Monster review.