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October, October

Storms sweep through leaving in their wake devastation and destruction. October and her father are searching the woods where they are seeking treasures blown in by the storm, when they find a dead Owl. Sad, but accepted as a consequence of the circle of life, the Owl is buried deep and the treasure seeking continues.Her father has discovered a baby owl hidden in a small copse, puffed up and fluffy, but forbids October to take the baby bird just in case another Owl returns to care for the fledgling.

So begins a beautifully created work from Angela Harding which, from the first page captures a slice in time in the life of a little girl living in the woods, almost in a reclusive manner, just her and her father, the woods around and then Stig, the baby owl who has joined the small family.

When October turns eleven, in October, her Mother, an elusive being arrives to see her with a present wrapped in shiny, twinkly paper, looking so very different in her city clothes. October runs away, heading for the highest tree she can find, hiding from the strange person with her father.Unfortunately her father falls, damaging his back so badly he has to be hospitalised and October is to be sent to live with her mother in the City; something October tries to fearsomely resist, but eventually finds herself in a strange and very different world to the one of trees, forests and animals in which she is comfortable.

School is a new experience and one she finds boring, life in the City is terrifying; making friends is totally foreign to her along with so many new and often not so terrific things she has to learn, as well as trying to understand this woman who is her mother.

October slowly makes a new friend with Yusef, a boy at her school and he introduces her to Mudlarking on the banks of the River in London, a place October considers to be wild and free, just like her home with her Dad.

Told in the first person, the year October’s world changes is captivating and enchanting; the very essence of facing change, overcoming the isolation and fear that often comes with change, is perfectly portrayed, as is the pathway towards understanding and acceptance of new people, a new way of life and  spreading your wings, just a little.

October October holds the reader captive until the final page; is this book destined to be considered as a children classic, maybe, only time will tell, but in the meantime it is one to be highly recommended and perfect for children facing change in their life, as it offers a very different pathway through the many challenges that will be faced and overcome.

Author Katya Balen. Illustrations Angela Harding.
Publisher Bloomsbury Children's Books
ISBN 9781526601919
Website https://www.bloomsbury.com
Distributor Bloomsbury Children's Books
Released November 2020