Irena Kobald has accurately captured the emotions of fearful despair and feelings of being lost through the eyes a little girl, who is simply known as Cartwheel. War has caused her to move to a new country which she finds very difficult and lonely at first.
The narrative flows emphatically through Kobald’s beautiful and simple text. She uses a blanket as a powerful metaphor.Freya Blackwood’s changing colour palette provides a depth that moves the story forward.
This story is a champion for hope and perseverance. The metaphors of the cold waterfall and warm blanket provide stark and soothing imagery that will strike a chord within you if you have experienced any sort of change. Cartwheel holds onto the memories and sounds of her old country as snugly as warm blanket. But when she starts life in a new country, the old blanket is not enough to keep her secure. She finds she has to venture out of the comfort of her old blanket to see how she might make a new one.
While I loved the little girl who comes forward with the lovely gesture of friendship, I was particularly inspired by Cartwheel’s determination to just show up. After seeing the new girl in the park once, Cartwheel’s fear deters her from returning the smile. It is clear that she is unsure of how to pursue the friendship or what to say.
In spite of this, she turns up at that park three times before she meets the girl again, and then slowly, the friendship grows. This story shows that even amidst the turmoil that change causes inside, you can create a courage within to chin up, look around and observe. It will be frightening and cold at first, but warmth and comfort are just around the corner. At the end of the book, Cartwheel’s fear is replaced by happiness and hope. Now she has two blankets. She has grown and expanded to fit her new surrounding and yet she is still herself, the fun loving girl who loves to spin cartwheels.
I have read this book to my English As Second Language adult students and seen the knowing in their eyes as the relate to Cartwheels experiences.
TRY THIS WORD SEARCH WITH WORDS FROM THE BOOK.
INSTRUCTIONS: When you find a word, click on the first letter, then click on the last letter, so simple! Find all the words!!
Suggested age: Read aloud to 4+, Read by self 5+. Recommended for a beginner reader.
Published by Little Hare Books, 2014; Imprint of Hardie Grant Egmont
If you have been a novice in a new place or want to understand how that may feel like, get this book for your bookshelf. Check out your local bookshops because bookshops are amazing places and should be supported to keep them open! However, the convenience of clicking from your comfy sofa is sometimes a necessity. In that case, Booktopia or Amazon it!