Ah it feels so good to have the energy to write a proper review again! A little update on my life before we head over to the review. I’m now graduated with a 2.1 (B) on my masterthesis in Change Management, I’ve started a new job in HR, and I’ve finally got the time to properly read during the week without the pressure of academia and a part-time job hanging over me! Very exciting stuff! Since the last time I’ve been on here I’ve done shorter reviews on Instagram if you’re interested in reading those, and during my vacation not so long ago I read the book I’ll review for you today! In my opinion it is The Animals of Farthing Wood reincarnated in splendid form! This series is not where the author gathered the inspiration for her story. The story about George was inspired by an event Fox encountered in a park close to where she live but I still got the same amazing vibe I had as a child when I watched the talking animals as when I read this story. The synopsis is borrowed from Goodreads:
After his parents are killed, George, the Orphan Crow, starts a new life among the lively creatures of Blossom Valley and the enchanting butterflies that live there. But all is not as it seems… an evil ladybird, envious of the butterflies’ beauty lures them to a remote place with a wicked plan in mind. George becomes suspicious and flies out looking for them. But is he too late? Has the wicked ladybird already put her plan into action?
The story about George the Orphan Crow is a childrens story which is the genre I’ve spent most of my time on whilst working on my thesis. We meet George at a lifechanging moment when we enter into this story. This moment is closely followed by a meeting with an owl who suggests new livingquarters for George in a place called Blossom Valley. A magical and mysterious place where everyone lives in harmony even natural born enemies. Blossom Vallet carry many of the characteristics of a normal society, with some natural alterations, which makes it easier for the reader to imagine what it might look like. The imagination is additionally given some help by great descriptions of the surroundings within Blossom Valley. It truly does seem like a magical place. The story in itself carries a somewhat mythological feeling. Not that I’m complaining! It makes for the mystical aura that lies around Blossom Valley, and it also explains some of the things going on. Throughout the book you sense that there is something more to the place but what that is you’ll have to read the book to find out!
What made me think of The Animals of Farthing Wood was the way the characters treat each other and how their personalities is so prominent in this book. I also believe that many readers will be able to identify themselves with several of the characters and their personality traits. George is brave, loyal, and righteous and he quickly finds that he enjoys life with his new friends in his new home. He becomes good friends with the toad and also keeps his friendship with the owl that first sent him towards Blossom Valley. Yet it is a very different story because the animals are being threatened from the inside and this threat evolves on a grand scale which soon involves a lot of stakeholders. I did enjoy all the drama this meant for the little society and as a book in general I really believe that it brings forward some important lessons that the world seem to forget on the grander scale in a modern world. The animals of Blossom Valley treats their equals kindly and fairly. They aim at being kind an welcoming with open minds to all new creatures. They have a leader who has sworn to protect her diverse flock and Blossom Valley from the evils of the world and she does this fiercly. This all sounds very harmonious and yet in my opnion Fox is able to weave in the realities of the real world. George also encounters greed, jealousy and arrogance on adventures with his new friends. When you read a book like this it is easy to make it all glossy and happy but by weaving in these realities I think Fox makes the story even more trustworthy as a childrens book that can teach children som moral lessons along the way.
George as a character develops in a steady pace and I’m very glad he does. This book is rather short but in my opinion George’s character could have been ruined if his character development had attempted to keep up with the events of the story. Instead of rushing his development along I get the sense that Fox plays on his previous experiences in life and thus brings forward traits that are already hidden in George’s soul instead of some grand gesture where he miraculously develops like a bang. Of course one could argue that development happens in the light of events and I’m not saying that this isn’t what’s happening but I didn’t find it as overdone as I have done in other books. At the same time this doesn’t make George predictable. Since this is a childrens story older readers might be able to better sense where everything is heading but I found it to be a good balance between the obvious and the surprises.
George the Orphan Crow and the Creatures of Blossom Valley is a magical book where children and grownups alike will find room for the imagination to be set free and to follow George and his friends along on their adventures. If you have children who want to learn how to read English I do recommend this book. The language is easy and the story is solid without quick jumps that could make it hard to follow.
Theme: Friends, enemies, kindness, safety
– The Book Reader