The Promise

The Promise

by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin (Candlewick, 2014)

The Promise is on this year’s New York Times Best Illustrated Books list and I’m so glad it captured a spot. I imagine weeping and gnashing of teeth to pare down a year into a handful of notables, but they got this one so right.

The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin

Here you have bleakness. Bare and raw. And a girl who doesn’t have much but the desolate things. The words themselves pierce the brightness.

The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin

The people, too, dry and dusty.

And then.

The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin

Some seeds and a promise and a reluctant okay.

 I pushed aside the mean and hard and ugly, and I planted, planted, planted.

The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin

Everything works in this book. The text is exquisite. The pictures haunting and heartbreaking and hopeful. The paper is luxurious. The case cover differs from the jacket itself. Dig in. Look around. Don’t miss the endpapers that start as stone and end as spring.

There’s a little Frog Belly Rat Bone here, in this fragile world in need of color and life.

(Also, there’s a lot of great stuff about this beautiful book here, and this post is so, so lovely as well.)

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And PS! Add a comment by Wednesday, December 3rd to this post for a chance at winning all ten of those books from Chronicle. Don’t forget your pledge to #GiveBooks this year!

 

5 Comments

  • Posted December 1, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    So glad that you highlighted THE PROMISE. I adore this book on so many levels. I share this title with clients of mine in urban areas that are working with community residents to promote green infrastructure, which includes planting more trees. We talk about the social benefits of greening our cities, including creating a greater sense of community and pride. This book perfectly captures this idea. I plan to use it when I do outreach and education for these projects to help explain the power of trees and green in our communities and our own lives.

  • Posted December 1, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    My daughters and I loved this book. We’ve fallen in love with Nicola Davies’s books in general, lately. This one generated so much discussion after we read it. I’m always grateful for picture books like that.

  • Posted December 1, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Excellent review! Can’t wait to check this one out! Thanks, Carter!

  • Connie
    Posted December 3, 2014 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    I just found your blog through the Let’s Get Busy podcast. I’m enjoying reading through your posts.The Promise is one of my favorite picturebooks to share with my EFL students here in France. They always want to plant something after reading this book.

  • Posted February 10, 2016 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    thanks for sharing such a beautiful inspiring book!