King of the Sky, a picture book written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Laura Carlin, is about a boy from Italy who feels alone in a new country.
In a new land full of rain, and ‘little houses huddled on the humpbacked hills’ the young narrator feels lost. Wales is nothing like his old home. The new language, the different smells all make him feel like he doesn’t belong.
But help, and solace, can be found in strange places, and in this story they come in the form of Mr Evans with his pigeons. Our narrator almost becomes an apprentice as Mr Evans teaches him all his knows about these birds, including his admiration and respect for them.
The flight of his racing pigeons, their determination, and their ability to find their way home from far, far away strikes a chord. It is through them, and Mr Evans, that he finds a sense of belonging, a sense of home.
Nicola Davies’s writing is just wonderful to read out loud, soft yet powerful with exquisite descriptions.
‘Its head was whiter than a splash of milk, its eye blazed fire.’
Laura Carlin, the first UK winner of the Bratislava children’s books illustration award in over 20 years, creates a tender and wonderfully atmospheric tone through her illustrations. Several wordless double spread pages feature in King Of The Sky, such is the power of her style.
King Of The Sky is a beautiful book about finding your place in a strange land… with a little help from friends and nature.