Illustration is a huge passion of mine and so I love it when I get a book that excels on this front. My next book for Book Monsters advent not only provides beautiful illustration, but it really shines on the story front too. It is Raven Child and the Snow Witch written by Linda Sunderland and illustrated by Daniel Egneus.
This book is a fabulous winter read, telling a story of a young girl, Anya, who lives in the shadow of an icy glacier where the Snow Witch lives. Every spring Anya’s mother heads to to the glacier to pick the blue gentian flowers that grow there. But, one time, she does not return. Anya and her father set out on a courageous journey to rescue her mother and face the Snow Witch.
Like many fairy tales, this is slightly longer than a standard picture book, which is brilliant as it’s a bit more meaty for a bedtime story and makes for a great picture book read for older children as well as younger. The story is really very lovely, with a great array of characters and Anya herself, who is kind, brave and bright, setting a fabulous example of a female role model. The writing has a very traditional feel to it, as if telling an old fairy tale, yet is clear and concise also and will be very easy for children to follow and a pleasure to read out loud. It begins with a rather chilling, in every sense of the word, poem about the Snow Witch, I absolutely love it. Very sinister, and gets you built up to reading the story brilliantly.
Daniel Egneus’s illustrations are glorious. They’re quite stylised in a way, and you really get the feel of this icy, wintery land. Anya is gorgeously illustrated with her big blue eyes the focus of many of the drawings, her sparky and strong personality shines out from the pages. The book itself is gorgeous quality with a glittery and snowy embossed front cover which is so tactile and beautiful to look at. It’s a stunning wrapping for a gorgeous tale.
Haunting and poetic Raven Child and the Snow Witch is perfect if you’re looking for a more unusual fairy tale fantasy picture book which spans the ages and is sure to become a much loved favourite with children.