reviewed by Chris Richards.
This book is a wonderful portal for children to melt away to elsewhere. Eliza Wren and the Multicoloured Peacock is Jennifer Paul’s debut novel. She is both author and illustrator of a children’s story written with clear morals, particularly the importance of self-belief and benevolence in leadership. The writing is clear and honest while the pictures transport and light up the imagination.
I enjoyed reading this to my young sons and they were keen to hear two or three chapters in bed each night. The intricate illustrations are a feast for the eyes, beautifully finished, they express movement and mysticism. The whole book including the story, is delightfully pretty, engaging, and light. The language is clear but not overly simplistic, so supports vocabulary growth in the very young and might nicely challenge an independent reader.
Eliza begins the story gazing into her garden very early one morning, she goes on to meet her new friend Mop, an exceptionally beautiful peacock, hiding at the bottom of her garden then quickly becomes his confidante. Eliza is calm, brave, and a kind girl, who is about 10 years old, but her age is not mentioned.
Within a mere 90 or so pages we are introduced to a magically hidden peafowl society and taken on a fantastical journey of discovery and acceptance. The short chapters and concise overall story lend very well to independent reading for confident primary school age readers or a comforting and companionable read for preteens.
This would make a delightful gift for the brave and confident Eliza’s in our lives and I think I’ll need to go and stock up for Xmas gifts! I am glad there will be more adventures from Eliza Wren in the future and it is my belief that this is merely the beginning of a long and successful authorial career for Jennifer Paul.
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