Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A review of "Just Right" written by Birdie Black and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

Hey there, Folks in the Smoke,

   I'm so very sorry for this tardy post - life has been a bit hectic lately and posting wasn't possible. But I hope this Christmas review will compensate somewhat.

   "Just Right", also published as "Just Right for Christmas", is a simple and enchanting tale full of festive flavour and snowy scenes.

   It's Christmas Eve in a snow-laden kingdom. We follow the route of a piece of red cloth and learn of the uses it and it's subsequent off-cuts are put to - the initial bolt is used to make a cloak for a princess. The scraps are placed by the back door and taken by a kitchen-maid, she then makes a gift for her mother. The same process is repeated with each set of scraps being perfect from which to fashion a smaller gift for a smaller creature until the very final gift of a scarf for a tiny mouse. Each gift is sewn with love and given with tenderness. The reveal spread, on which we see each recipient opening and adoring their present, is gorgeous and sweet. 

    Black's story is tender and warm, it feels like a traditional tale with a perfectly pitched array of characters and an elegant thread binding them together. The text has a beautiful cadence, and I love the repetition of "snipped and sewed, sewed and snipped" as each character creates their own gift from the red cloth.The closing sentiment of each gift being "just right", and that is "just how Christmas should feel", is sure to warm even the chilliest heart. 

   Beardshaw's illustrations are poised and cosy - her people are rosy-cheeked and her animals are exquisitely furry and very energetic. The colour palette of the brown of the forest, the red of the gifts and the white of the snow makes you feel chilly and comforted simultaneously. 

   I'd recommend this as a charming addition to the yuletide reading list - it's heartfelt and delightful. 

   Thanks for reading, and a very Merry Christmas (or general holiday season) to you and yours,

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