Books & Literature

Book Review: Cloud Forest, by Victoria Turnbull

An moving tale that speaks of the power of books to bring people together, as well as helping us remember loved ones when they’re no longer with us.

A beautiful story of love and loss celebrating the power of books.

Cloud Forest is the fourth book written and illustrated by author Victoria Turnbull, although she has illustrated one other book. In her relatively short career as an author/illustrator, she has been shortlisted for several awards for her writing and illustrations. Turnbull was born in York, in the north of England. Her books are all heart-warming with a great message and this one is no exception.

Turnbull’s books are usually about loneliness and loss, love and friendship. Cloud Forest in particular, is a story of love and loss. This beautiful, gentle book is about a child and their Umpa (grandfather). It teaches children about the beauty of words and stories.

Umpa spends time in his beloved garden with the flowers and the trees. Books are everywhere and it is his favourite place. Together with his adoring and adored grandchild, they plant seeds and watch them grow. Umpa creates whole new worlds with his stories, worlds they travel to in their dreams. The growing of the seeds is likened to the growing of the seeds of our imagination as we read books. Cloud Forest lets us know that stories can help us remember loved ones and our joint treasured experiences long after they have passed away.

The beautiful illustrations, with each page full of subtle colour, tell the story of the journeys Umpa and his grandchild take in their imaginations. The paper birds they make together invade the child’s dreams and the ever-changing clouds become an integral part of each place they travel. We are transported to new places with the child, and the relationship and adoration the child has for their Umpa is lovingly told.

Stories can evoke memories, and the power of books in bringing people together can never be underestimated. This is a lovely book for an adult to read to a loved one, and will hopefully encourage them to create lasting memories together.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Murdoch Books
Released: May 2019
RRP: $21.99 hardcover

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