Posts Tagged ‘Ulf Stark’

The Runaways

By Ulf Stark

Illustrated by Kitty Crowther

Translated by Julia Marshall

ISBN 9781776572342

One of the things that continues to amaze me is the ability of good writers to make you like even the bad characters in stories. It is only when we dig into the depths of these characters, that we realise just how vulnerable they often are.  The pain they feel, for whatever reason, is behind their awfulness. In The Runaways, Grandpa is a bit of pain, grumpy and he swears a lot too.  We eventually find out the reason he is so grumpy, and I can tell you, it melted my heart, just a little. Grandpa’s health is deteriorating but there is one thing he wants to do before the end.

Gottfried Junior adores his Grandpa and just wants to spend time with him in the hospital. Even though he is not allowed to see him very often, Gottfried, finds a way. Together, they hatch a plan to runaway overnight. It involves a few lies, lots of plans and even an accomplice. This is a wonderful, heart-warming story about two people who love each other very much and the reality that life will soon be very different for them both.

The Runaways is a beautifully written, warm, tender and honest story which many of us find familiar. Growing old, or losing grandparents is a harsh reality but Ulf Stark has done a lovely job. This is a very moving account and I should warn you, tissues may be needed.

 

Zanzibar

By Catharina Valckx

ISBN 9781776572564

Zanzibar is a crow who is content with life until a travelling lizard reporter knocks on his door and asks if there is anything exceptional about him to write in his newspaper. Zanzibar considers his options but realises he is just an ordinary crow with nothing special to offer the reporter. Zanzibar decides to do something to change that, something which will make him stand out and be noticed. That something special involves a long flight, lots of planning and a camel.

Zanzibar is a funny, illustrated first chapter book. The characters care about each other and support Zanzibar on his quest to lift a camel with just one wing. Does he do it? Not telling. However, there are always lessons to learn a long the way about the value of friendship and believing in yourself. Sweet, funny, and just a lovely feel-good story for newly independent readers.

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When dad showed me the universe

By Ulf Stark

Illustrated by Eva Eriksson

ISBN 9781927271827

Gecko Press

“Sometimes the most important things are right under your nose.”

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Gecko Press continually produce beautiful books and this is no exception.

Dad takes his son out one evening to show him the universe. It is of course huge, and very special. They gather their coats, and one or two important provisions and set off on their journey. As with the best journeys, getting there is often just as special as the destination. They observe the little things along the way, things that build up a bigger picture of the universe and just how special life really is.

This is a beautifully illustrated book just perfect for dad’s and sons to share together.
Ulf Stark has the ability to connect readers emotionally with the characters in his books. Eva Eiksson’s illustrations brings those characters to life in a lovely visual way in gorgeous colours. And of course such a journey together also includes a bit of humour. Great combination and a book which I think, is just superb.