This large format picture book for children is told in rhyme, accompanied by large, colourful illustrations by Kelly Irving.
The couplets are sometimes awkward, particularly for those who don’t read a lot of poetry, but the story is worth persisting with, as is the overall presentation of this delightful bedtime story.
Odette’s Patchwork Cloak tells the story of Princess Odette, who has been spoiled so much by her loving parents that she has become heartless and selfish. In desperation, the King and Queen turn to the local, friendly witch who provides a potion to help restore Odette’s inner beauty. Left in rags, Odette seeks out the witch only to find a village in need. Witnessing the suffering first hand, compassion overcomes her anger and reminds Odette of the importance of helping others.
This is a beautiful story. It has a strong, obvious moral without being moralistic. There’s a lot in this book for adults to discuss with their children, ranging from issues of kindness and compassion, to breaking stereotypes – not all witches are bad.
Irving’s wonderful pictures are large and bright. They appear on every page of the story, sometimes taking up the page without text. Even the night-time scenes are vibrant enough to leap off the page. Irving has found a good balance between showing enough detail for most of the images to be their own point of discussion, and keeping the style simplistic enough for the illustrations to appear childlike.
Odette’s Patchwork Cloak is a magical bedtime story that young children should enjoy time and time again. It’s a worthy tale that reinforces positive behaviour and is fun to read, making it a book that adults should equally enjoy reading with their children.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 7
Distributed by: Elephant House Press
Released: August 2018
Disclaimer: Elephant House Press was co-founded by Elizabeth Calder who is a contributor to Glam Adelaide.