The Promise – book review

Written by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Laura Carlin

Published by Walker Books ISBN 978-1-4063-5559-8

Review by Rebecca Pomroy

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We are introduced to the story of The Promise with the character’s broken view of the world with lines such as “Nothing grew. Everything was broken”. The main character lives by stealing. One night she tries to take an old lady’s bag and ends up bargaining with her to make a promise to plant what is contained within the stolen bag. This deed will end up changing her fate and bringing hope to others around her. The story is accompanied by illustrations by Laura Carlin, which bring the narrative to life.

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Colour in particular was something I noticed as I turned each page. The illustrations at the beginning of the book, although rich in content, have a pallet of dark blues and browns, which adds to the sense of loneliness in the story. As the narrative progresses and a new life takes over the story, the illustrations become much more vibrant and rich.  I particularly like that the colour theme of dark blues and browns is returned to in one of the last pages of the book, creating a cycle to begin the good deed again and change another person’s life.

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As well as the colours used, I enjoyed the use of white space in some of the images. Other pages contain full-page illustrations, and some are cropped which breaks up the images and makes each page different. The text is simple and easy to read, not overwhelming the illustrations.

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The simplicity and relation to everyday life is what brings the whole story together, be it the urban cityscapes or the narrative, I think this book gives a clear message that can be enjoyed by many different people young or old.

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8th December 2014
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