A little horse with big dreams
Tamlin's Great Adventure by Victoria Byron
This is the delightful tale of Tamlin, a horse who is very content in his field with his best friend, a girl called Ruby. That is until a little bird tells him about the wide, wide world and one moonlit night, he decides to go exploring. Tamlin travels all over the world, visits picturesque places and sees fascinating sights, but nowhere feels quite right. After a while, Tamlin discovers what’s missing; he realises adventures are lonely without anyone to share them and returns home to his beloved Ruby.
Tamlin's Great Adventure is a charming story with gorgeous illustrations. It's the perfect book for brightening up a damp and dreary November day like this one.
The illustrations are cheerful and uncluttered with an interesting use of white space alongside strong colours, pretty patterns and unusual textures. The text is simple and soothing, making it a lovely bedtime read. There is something very tranquil and comforting about the images too, especially those of Tamlin's field.
Tamlin's journey is documented by striking scenes, all quite different and distinct. He travels to a tropical island, treks through a jungle and tours New York, taking in the culture in galleries and museums. The images of Tamlin swimming underwater and surrounded by exotic fish and birds are especially eye-catching, but my favourite illustrations are of him and Ruby together.
Tamlin is such an endearing character. I love his posture, how he holds his head up curiously and his gentle little smile. Ruby is very cute too and their friendship is adorable. Neither of them them ever speaks, yet it's obvious how much they enjoy each other's company and how at peace they are when together.
How happy Ruby and Tamlin are when they are reunited made me nostalgic for my own childhood, when it was possible to feel complete and satisfied with very little. Childhood associations were also evoked by other aspects of the story. Tamlin ventures off by the light of the moon just like Nellie the elephant in the famous nursery song. When I was younger, my parents used to pretend that "a little bird" had told them various things. I had completely forgotten about this until I saw "a little bird" tell Tamlin about the wide world.
Author and illustrator Victoria Byron was an art teacher before completing an MA in children’s book illustration and becoming a full-time illustrator. Tamlin's Great Adventure is the first picture book Victoria has written as well as illustrated. Victoria recently had a solo exhibition at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, promoting Alfie’s Night Out. She was the winner of a Voices of Future Generations Children's Book Illustration Award in 2016.
Tamlin's Great Adventure emphasises how fundamental friendship and love are and demonstrates how the grass "on the other side" will never be "greener" without them. I love that Tamlin never gives up his dreams, but instead changes them to include Ruby. This story is perfect for children aged five and under, including babies and toddlers.
Enchanting and uplifting, with beautiful illustrations, Tamlin's Great Adventure would make a fantastic gift, and I'm looking forward to Victoria Byron's next book already.
Title: Tamlin's Great Adventure
Author & Illustrator: Victoria Byron
Publisher: Starfish Bay
Publication Date: October 2020