Saturday, 8 March 2014

Song of the Golden Hare

Song of the Golden Hare by Jackie Morris (Frances Lincoln/Walker Books)
HC RRP $27.95
ISBN 9781847804501
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

I confess that I’m a passionate fan of Jackie Morris’ work. Her art is beguiling and there is a sense of complete union with her subjects reflected in everything she creates. She seems to become one with nature. Everything she sees stays with her to be turned into something unforgettable for the world to enjoy.

Song of the Golden Hare is a singular and breathtaking book. The poetic prose tells of a family that adores hares. Their magical song is sung once in fifty years when a new queen is to be chosen. When others are setting their hounds on them for sport, the family is dedicated to keeping the old queen safe to ensure she will cross to the Island of the Golden Hare.

But the boy longs to hear the song of the golden hare; to catch the sound and play it on his harp. This is the tale of when the hares moved and the children followed from east to west, to catch the song of the golden hare. The boy ‘listened with his ears… and with his heart’. He wanted to replicate the sound, but he had left his harp at home.

But as with all invaluable things, someone wants to own the golden hare’s pelt.

With tears in my eyes I end this magnificent book. Not since Margaret Wild’s Fox have I been so deeply moved by a picture book. It is a stunning work of art in every sense.

After writing this book ‘Jackie discovered there is a real island off the shores of Britain… Rathlin Island, where golden hares can be found. It is believed that there are only two of them’.

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