Joseph Coelho, illustrated by David Barrow

A lovely first chapter book with evocative and sensitive illustrations.

The main character is a boy named Miles, who loves to climb trees, but his adventurous play on the estate is not appreciated by Mr Buxton. When Miles finds a budgie outside his flat he learns about life cycles and the life of Mr Buxton, and Mr Buxton reflects on why he behaves as he does.

There is fun and joy in this book as well as the inevitable sadness and grief that come with death. This complexity is well handled in language that is charming. Mr Buxton looks like he has ‘a sky of things inside him’, and the budgie’s feathers are ‘kiss – on – an – eyelid soft’.

The aspirations of Miles and his mother are key to the story and the lessons learned along the way support this.

A beautiful story with empathy and compassion, perfectly complemented by David Burrows’ illustrations. I think any early reader would enjoy this book and sharing it with a child would be a fantastic conversation starter.

Published by Barrington Stoke

Reviewed by Fiona McMorrow