DB1 and I consider ourselves very fortunate indeed, as we recently got sent a copy of ‘Sylvester and the New Year’ to read and review.
I should first of all establish one very important fact. Both DB1 and I are huge bookworms. We love books. Every week, we troop down loyally to the local library, regardless of the weather, to take out yet another eight books (always eight, not sure why) to snuggle up with under the duvet when we get home.
So imagine our delight, when we opened our parcel, to see this book inside!
So we instantly brewed up a hot chocolate (for me) and seized a hobnob from the packet (DB1) then headed upstairs to read it. Our first impressions were that the illustrations were gorgeous! They have a lovely ‘olde worlde’ traditional feel to them, which really adds to the timeless appeal of the story itself. The story, inspired by a tale told by Edward Morike and illustrated so beautifully by Emmeline Pidgen, is based on an old German folk story, of how Saint Sylvester brings the new year (in the shape of a young boy) to earth; and takes the old year back with him.
I must say, despite the length of the book, DB1 was totally enraptured. I don’t know if it was the dream-like illustrations, or the lovely way in which certain scenes were depicted (I loved Sylvester’s ‘bed of glittering starlight’) but it made for a really magical reading experience, and I must say, I found myself welling up a bit when the old year (represented by a tired old man) was taken back up to the sky; it was really quite moving!
I think DB1 was quite moved too. He didn’t say anything for a while after we’d finished the book, which tends to mean, with him, that he’s mulling it over in his head, and pondering it all. I eventually asked him what he thought, and rather than giving an impression, he looked at me very seriously, and asked if that was what really happened! Bless him. He particularly liked Sylvester’s ‘moon horses’ and kept returning to the pages they were on.
I think this is a beautiful book for the time of year, it really encapsulates the magic of the season, and the mystery of folklore, whilst remaining simple to read, and accessible to a young audience.
We shall be reading it again very soon, I strongly suspect!