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Back then, humans and animals were fellow beings under the sky. Perhaps that’s why it seemed possible for humans to change into animals. One in a series of tales that explore the deeper, darker side of our connection with the natural world. Be ready to feel a little bit of magic, and perhaps a few shivers down the spine.
Nicola Davies is an award-winning author whose many books for children include A First Book of Nature, Ice Bear, Big Blue Whale and the Silver Street Farm series. She graduated in zoology, studied whales and bats then worked in the BBC Nature History Unit. Underlying all Nicola’s writing is the belief that a relationship with nature is essential to every human being, and that now, more than ever, we need to renew that relationship.
Anastasia Izlesou is a UK based freelance illustrator from Lithuania. She studied illustration at the Arts University Bournemouth. Her preferred media are watercolour and pencil. Anastasia’s deep interest in literature and nature informs and inspires her illustration practice.
"Two illustrated stories set long ago and far away. Small but sea-loving Keenan Mowat is the youngest of three brothers. He rescues them all from sure death when he heeds a strange man's words and takes a hook, an ax, and a silver sword – a butter knife – with him when the brothers go out on their fishing boat. Ostra, meanwhile, is from "the days before computers, before cars, before electricity [...] [when] humans were closer to nature." Her ability to communicate with animals – and they with her – saves her from a cruel, selfish man who wants to marry her for her strength. Both Ostra and Keenan find love in very different ways. Each tale is illustrated in a similar line and wash palette, though with a distinctive style. Uhren's illustrations in Mother Cary's Butter Knife create continually dark, foreboding sea scenes, while Izlesou's art in The White Hare contrasts pastoral scenes and gentle Ostra with a harsh huntsman. Both titles have a sophisticated sensibility but will read aloud well. VERDICT Unusual and beautifully illustrated offerings from a small Welsh publisher. Ideal for fans of dark folktales and fairy tales."
– Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library" School Library Journal, March 2017