One of our favourite illustrators to emerge in the past few years has to be Sophy Henn. Her colourful picture books could light up the dullest of days and her latest, Edie, is sure to make a lovely addition to your bookshelf.
Don’t we all know that little girl or boy who just loves to ‘help?!’ Maybe we were that little girl or boy! It can turn the kitchen into a mess, make getting ready in the morning an event, and leave the family pet running for cover, but it is hard to wish it to be any other way when the intention is so pure and heartfelt.
Edie epitomises this helpful nature which children can have. She ‘helps’ her parents to get up in the morning by playing her guitar and drums, ‘helps’ Dad with the shopping – even if he didn’t intend to buy a plant, sunglasses and cakes – ‘helps’ Mum with work by decorating her office, and even ‘helps’ the dog to get to sleep by lying on top of him and showing him how it is done!
This is a delightful, heartfelt tale about the life of a child. The world is an adventure and every household activity is an opportunity to get involved. Edie is a story full of energy, colour, humour, and life. It depicts a very relatable element of family life, which will have adults smiling, and children giggling.
There is of course a line which when crossed can turn good-natured helpfulness into trouble, where the consequences are unfortunately not so helpful. Edie experiences this downturn of events when she tries to brighten the place up by drawing on the walls. It quickly becomes clear to Edie that this is not ok, and walls are not to be drawn on. This is an important example for young readers to explore. The setting of boundaries and developing an ability to gauge the consequences of their actions are important lessons for children to learn, and can take time to negotiate. A story like this which depicts these kinds of choices affords young readers the opportunity to discuss boundaries and good judgement. Young readers are likely to relate to Edie’s antics. This contextualises these life-lessons in a fun and relatable way.
The story shows Edie getting it a little wrong, but also shows her bouncing back from her upset, and helping again. This is a good example for readers about the world of emotions – an example of how they can feel upset or sad, but not to be afraid to be themselves again. The end of the story contains the message that it is ok to make mistakes, and that there is a chance to learn something from them. These are helpful and important messages, especially for children who might find the navigation of life’s lessons hard sometimes.
The illustrations are unique and will be instantly recognisable as Henn’s. The colours are vivid and feed the imagination. The detail in the drawings mean there is plenty for children to explore over multiple readings, which is an important quality in picture books. This keeps things interesting and stimulates the technique of enquiry. I was not surprised to read that Henn has a vibrant background in fashion design and illustration. Edie’s pop pom skirt and bobbled beret are lively, bright, and bouncy, encapsulating her spirit, energy and heart.
Win a copy of Edie by Sophy Henn
This competition is now closed. Congratulations to our lucky winner, Sarah Heard from Dublin!