Title: The New Girl
Author: Nicola Davies
Illustrator: Cathy Fisher
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Hardback
Description: A girl starts a new school in a strange new town. The children in her class are hostile towards her and unhappy about the stranger in their midst. The child’s response is to create something beautiful that transforms their attitude towards her, changing their vision of themselves and their own lives in this inspiring story.
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: This is a really beautiful picture book with a lovely message about friendship and accepting those who are different. The new girl at school looks different to everyone else, she dresses differently, she eats food that smells strange and because of this they make her sit alone. But soon little paper flowers start appearing in the classroom, flowers that everyone loves, and the new girl doesn’t seem so strange anymore.
This is a lovely hardback book filled with thick matt pages of some really stunning pictures and text. The story is narrated from the point of view of one of the girls already at the New Girl’s new school. The new girl is seen alone in a corridor, and then alone eating her food that is different and smells strange. The illustrations are really interesting and powerful in showing how alone the new girl feels. I like how the children at the school are shown as a mass of shadows rather than individual children, giving emphasis to how separate the new girl is from them and how alone she feels.
Soon paper origami flowers start appearing in the classroom and it isn’t long before the narrator discovers who has been making them. I don’t want to spoil the whole story, but it ends well with the new girl being accepted by the narrator (and presumably others) and this is reflected in the way she’s shown at the and of the story too. I do like the simplicity of this tale. It really shows the new girl, whose name we eventually learn, to be quite different from the other children at first but through something as simple as the magic of origami it shows her being accepted and belonging after all.
The illustrations are so amazing, they really capture the mood of what is happening in the story. At first the illustrations of the girl really make her look alone with the shadows of the other children and the slightly more greyish tone to the images. This is such a contrast to the beautifully bright images later which begin we see when we first see an origami flower. The pictures have a wonderful realistic look to them but are still illustrations and I can’t help but just love how incredibly bright and stunning some of them look. This really is a lovely book to look at and with such a simple but powerful message, it’s a good book to share with all children, especially those who might encounter others who seem very different to themselves.
What do you think of this book? Where you ever the ‘new child’ at school? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂