To the Island by Patricia Forde & Nicola Bernardelli

Published by Little Island Books, 2020.

To the Island is an enchanting picture book. The story is based on the Irish myth of Hy Brasil. Hy Brasil is an island that is said to appear off the west coast of Ireland every seven years. For the remainder of the time, it is shrouded in a mysterious mist which keeps it hidden.

Fia, the young girl in the story, longs to see the island. Then, one night, she creeps out of bed and goes down to the quayside. There is magic at work as she travels on a silver moonbeam to the island where she rides on the back of a giant butterfly, dances with enchanted creatures, and swims to the bottom of the sea where pirate treasure glistens. It’s a land of giants and waterfalls, where the air is thick with secrets.

I absolutely love Nicola Bernardelli’s beautiful illustrations – they really are something else! They perfectly convey the story’s magic and wonder and help bring the mythical island of Hy Brasil to life. And it’s just exquisite the way that Fia’s flame-red hair streams behind her, the tendrils mixed with golden flowers and stardust!

Patricia’s writing is wonderful, particularly her descriptions. There’s the stardust that tickles Fia’s nose and paints her lips with silver, and the boy “with eyes like summer puddles”.

To the Island is a tale that’s imbued with old magic and folklore. I love that it’s part of the oral story-telling tradition and I can see it bringing delight to a whole new generation.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 4+

Thank you to Little Island Books for sending me this book to review. I reviewed it as part of the blog tour where Patricia talked to me about the influence of Irish folklore and mythology on her writing. Click here to find out more.

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