Friday 6 September 2019

Winter’s Tale

Winter’s Tale by Nike Sulway, Illustrated by Shauna O’Meara (Twelfth Planet Press) PB RRP ISBN 978-1-922101-54-9

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Winter's tale is the first book released by Tatiana, the new children's imprint of Twelfth Planet Press. The story is of an orphan child called Winter, who is found in a fruit box under a full moon and moves around houses and foster parents, looking for a place to call home. A crowned blue hare that lives in the moon (but can come to earth) follows Winter's progress. Beautiful colour illustrations by Shauna O'Meara on each page add to the story of Winter's journey. 

Winter is written clearly as genderless from the second page. " 'Is it a boy or girl?' somebody asked. The boy shrugged. 'Who knows?' he said. That's how things were with Winter, right from the start.’

Winter's Tale uses magic realism, with some quite surreal turns of events. The part of the story where Winter meets Wren and she teaches him to skateboard is the most realistic part and the ending is certainly the most fantastical. Winter lives with hunters, then in a city apartment, then on a ship at sea but none of these are home. Then Winter finds Bo and Fox, a gay couple who live in a town with shifting streets and it is here that Winter is accepted, makes friends and finds out who they really are.

The main concept behind Twelfth Planet Press is to publish works by women and underrepresented voices. Winter's Tale could be categorised as middle-grade but it's one of those books that can be equally read by adults or children. It's an attractive looking book and is a quite unique read with interesting characters and a story that stretches the imagination.

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