1st September 2013, Twelve Elves Books, 12 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Themes: birthday celebrations, having a party, wearing a new dress, having fun with friends, younger sibling-itis, sulking, being understood, bond between siblings,
Content: happy moments that made me cry,
Nola is just over a year younger than her sister Betty, and they decide to have one big, shared birthday party every year rather than each having a smaller one. But poor Nola gets upset that Betty always has one more candle than her, and fruitlessly seeks help from all the light-giving things she finds in the world outside. But just as she begins to accept the reality of their different ages, the solution comes as an enchantingly simple surprise.
I sensed from the cover that this would be a sweet read - what I didn't expect was that I'd be so touched by
the sentiments of Nola that I ended up teary eyed in more than one place. Nola's frustration is palpable, as is the gentle demeanour of Betty. The bond the sisters have is clear by their actions - their hug made me cry because so much was expressed in it. The way Nola is made happy at the end is very clever. I like the pastel shades used in the illustrations, the fine details like the cakes in the window, the pretty red ballerina style slippers and cat mug, the hair accessories of all the girls, and the continuity of characters like the dog with a coat on the street is later seen in the park.
For another touching read try Living With Mum and Living with Dad by Melanie Walsh (Children's, Picture book, 10/10E)