Picture Book Snob
This book will take you somewhere special
Somewhere by Jeanne Willis and Anastasia Suvorova, Nosy Crow
What's it about?
Oscar discovers a magical place at the bottom of the garden where he is free from grown-up eyes and intrusive questions. He can wander where he likes and do just as he pleases. But after a while, Oscar begins to miss certain questions like, "what about a story?" and "would you like a cuddle?" When he tries to find his way back, all the paths lead nowhere. Will Oscar ever make it home?
What can we learn?
You're nowhere without the people you love.
What makes this stand out? This is a stunning celebration of the imagination. It's cleverly designed with die-cuts that make the reading experience even more immersive. My kids love to turn the pages themselves and explore all the shapes and windows through to the next scene. The pages feel lovely and are sturdy enough to withstand the efforts of curious and excited little readers.
About those illustrations...
They're absolutely gorgeous and perfectly complement the text. With a dreamy colour palette and interesting patterns and textures, the images expertly capture a child's inner world. I love how they highlight the beauty of nature; one of my favourite pages shows a bright moon illuminated by shadows and colourful foliage.
Why we love it...
This insightful story reflects situations that young people will recognise and represents the types of games they invent too. Although the narrative builds a compelling fantasy world, family and relationships lie at its heart. It's brilliant how this empathises with children about how irritating unsolicited questions and fussing can be, yet shows they are coming from a place of love.
I love how Jeanne Willis writes with gentle, lyrical lines and how questions shape the plot - not just those directed by adults at Oscar but philosophical ones he asks himself. Oscar's family is mixed race which means that just like so many books published by Nosy Crow, this story is diverse and inclusive. We're also mad about the ginger kitty and how convincingly cat-like she is!
Why you need it...
Somewhere shows that it's natural to need time alone and explores the urge to escape in a creative and safe way. It's an ideal gift and a stunning book which evokes an enchanting realm that children will enjoy getting lost in and returning to again and again.
About the author:
Jeanne Willis has been writing books since she was five. She is a children's literature legend who has won multiple awards and published over 300 titles for young people. We love Stardust which was illustrated by Briony May Smith and What Are Little Girls Made Of? which rethinks classic nursery rhymes from a feminist perspective. Python Goes to Playschool was one of the first books I bought while expecting my eldest. I remembered finding it hilarious when I was a bookseller and now my kids do too. We're also huge fans of Jeanne's cautionary fairy tale collection which teaches little readers about the importance of online safety.
About the illustrator: Anastasia Suvorova is an illustrator from Russia, based in St Petersburg who has been drawing, dreaming and inventing stories all her life. She is fond of reading and travelling, as well as plants and flowers. Books are her greatest love because they are doors that open up new magical and wonderful worlds. Since graduating from the Academy of Arts, she learns about shape and colour, lightness and movement from nature. Anastasia's work has appeared in books, magazines and games and she brings the sensation and warmth of traditional materials into her digital art. Anastasia is the 2018 winner of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair Silent Book Contest.
Somewhere was published by Nosy Crow on 3rd June 2021 - see this book on the publisher's website
As with all Nosy Crow picture books, Somewhere comes with a free "Stories Aloud" digital audiobook download. A huge thank you to the lovely people in Nosy Crow for sharing this beautiful book with us. All opinions expressed are our own.