Published by Templar, 2019.
We are big fans of Frann Preston-Gannon in our house and her gorgeous new picture book does not disappoint. Frog sits on a lily pad in the swamp by the light of the moon. He sings and strums his guitar. Yet something is missing. He goes in search of other voices to add to his song. Before long, the crocodile, three mice, a school of fish, and some birds have added their music to frog’s song. However, something is still wrong: the song’s not quite right. Then frog spots a shy little bug, too afraid to add her song to the night. Frog convinces bug that all voices – no matter how small – matter and that she has something important to contribute. Bug joins in and the song is complete.
It’s a stunning book. Frann’s illustrations are vibrant, richly textured and beautifully drawn. The rich blues and greens of the sky and the swamp are gorgeous. There’s a sparkly silver foiled cover too!
The brilliant moon, gleaming brightly on almost every page, has a powerful, magical presence. The moonlit scenes are atmospheric and full of quiet beauty.
The story is in rhyme and the refrain and jaunty rhythm have lovely echoes of The Owl and the Pussy-Cat and Hey Diddle Diddle. There’s a great build up and use of repetition as more and more animals join in with the music. This, combined with the catchy refrain, mean that it’s really easy for children to join in with the story when it’s read aloud.
Frann’s illustrations include an interactive element too. Tucked away on each double page is the little bug, unnoticed by the other animals, but sure to be spotted by keen young readers.
In the Swamp by the Light of the Moon is a lovely story and the underlying themes make the book even more special. I love the important message of inclusivity: all voices – no matter how small – should be heard. There’s a powerful sense of community too, with all the different voices coming together.
Suitable for children aged 3+
Thank you to Templar for sending me this book to review.