Yes, we all know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but By Ash, Oak & Thorn has such a beautifully designed, wildlife-filled cover from Lauren O’Hara, bursting with colourful flowers that I did this time. Luckily, though, not only was the story inside as rewarding to read as the book is to look at, it’s actually a real corker of a read…!
With Melissa Harrison’s gentle, nature-laced prose as our guide, we’re taken on a rather epic yet warm adventure with a group of tiny, “Hidden Folk”. These are like little, immortal Borrowers who look after parts of the wild world, keeping them tidy and natural against the tide of humankind.
Our three main characters – Moss, Cumulus, and Burnet – love where they live, until their home blows down and Cumulus (the oldest) begins to fade away in front of their eyes. They head off on a mission to find more of their kind to try and find answers to stop themselves fading away.
By Ash, Oak & Thorn reads like a classic fairy tale with a dark underbelly beneath the lovely, jovial and caring personalities of the Hidden Folk. The story is educational about the natural world at the same time as being a perfect adventure style for strong middle-grade readers. A truly wonderful book!