Book Title: Felix After The Rain (available here)
Author/Illustrator: Dunja Jogan
Translator: Olivia Hellewell
Publisher: Tiny Owl Books
Publication Date: Feb 2020
Most Suitable For: Reception-Y2 - but could also be used as to prompt discussion/artwork with KS2 year groups.
Reviewed By: Carol Carter, Librarian
Felix After the Rain is a wonderful new picture book on the themes of sadness and friendship. Accessible to a wide range of ages, we can all empathise with the heavy feeling of carrying around negative emotions, and the wonderful clarity and lightness when you finally let them go.
After the loss of his grandmother, teasing from his friends and harsh words from his father, Felix is dragging a dark, heavy suitcase with him everywhere he goes. He wants to just leave it behind but can’t help himself pushing it up the highest hill. Luckily, one day, a young boy comes and opens the suitcase, releasing the emotions and Felix’s tears. After this cathartic event, Felix feels a renewed joy and wonder at the lighter, brighter world he finds. He is ready to hug the world, and the world is ready to hug him back.
The illustrations and text are both fantastic. From the attractive front cover with appealing colours and glistening, shiny raindrops onwards, the artwork perfectly captures Felix’s emotions through changes in tone and style. The words (beautifully translated from Slovenian by Olivia Hellewell) convey so much with so little. From the brilliant first line, ‘Felix was a terribly unhappy boy’, to the subtle use of alliteration and gentle repetition, the story is wonderful to read aloud.
When sharing with a class, I am going to be torn between letting the story develop naturally and stopping after every page for discussion. So many questions immediately present themselves, particularly when the suitcase is opened, the emotions released, and it is not immediately clear whether this will be a good thing or not. A further point for discussion would be that, in Felix’s new happy world, there should be some small recognition that ‘the suitcase’ still exists; that despite his emotional release, the darkness and sadness haven’t immediately disappeared completely and difficult events can take a long time to recover from.
A worthy addition to any library and highly recommended for young children struggling with dark emotions.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Carol for reviewing it.
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