Book Review, Children's Fiction

BOOK REVIEW: The Magical Wood by Mark Lemon

– Short Review –

This is a book that deals with the difficult subject of loss and the bereavement of a loved one, told in an engaging and light style that is a perfect resources for parents and families that are facing this most difficult of situations. This is a very important book which I know will find its audience. The Magical Wood will help parents take this journey with their children in an engaging and simplistic story that gives time for discussing feelings, emotions and bringing hope through Mark’s wonderfully lyrically constructed prose.

The money raised from sales of this book will be going to Winston’s Wish.

Other books you may like A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Tuesdays are Just as Bad By Cethan Leahy, The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson and Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter.

– Long Review –

The Magical Wood is a fabulous book, it’s short, concise and above all an engaging read. It is actually more than a book, it’s a small, wonderfully crafted journal / guide for tackling the themes of bereavement of a loved one and coming to terms with the grief and isolation that is so commonly associated with these issues.

Mark Lemon has deftly crafted this book with a lyricism that is easy to follow, the material flows well and leaves its mark on the reader long after the book is finished. Enabling time for those reading to reflect on the words, imagery and concepts that are packaged together in a stunningly simplistic, age appropriate way. There are not longwinded words, no over complicated story or structure, no questions the reader has to ask or discover the answers to – it’s a pure joy to read and I can see that the true magic of this book would be revealed when reading The Magical Wood to a child going through these issues.

The illustrations by Maia Walczak bring this book to life. The artwork reflects the subtle beauty of the book. The illustrations are not overly complicated, nor distracting, they help to reflect the words and the message that Mark Lemon has brought wonderfully to the page…making The Magical Wood sing with intrinsic, simplistic beauty – a true joy to behold.

‘Sometimes people leave, but they are always in your hearts. If you close your eyes and remember, you will never be apart.’

The book is somewhat of a journey, as we follow Guardian Tree after the loss of Strongest Tree – we are drawn in by Lemon’s whimsical voice as Guardian Tree is visited through various seasons by friends and well-wishers who offer words of encouragement and hope, building Guardian Tree up as it comes to terms with bereavement. I think the simplistic imagery here and how Lemon has broken the book up into seasons is very apt, as grief and bereavement are similar to seasons. They come and go in ever changing waves, flowing back and fourth as the seasons and years progress; but it’s still there, still bubbling below the surface – and that is what I find the key to The Magical Wood.

The Magical Wood, although simplistic in its dealing of this subject (a key to working well in this age demographic) deals with such a sensitive topic with tremendous care and feeling – there are no off the cuff comments, the intended audience (child) don’t feel their issues are belittled or told they should feel this way, or that way, they are told to cling to hope, things will get better…but the feelings never quite go away, and that’s ok!

‘These feelings you have are painful. But you will feel better I know. The feelings you have are like a river. It will always flow.’

One of the keys elements for me, to this books impact is that the writer himself has suffered bereavement at a young age (news article here). So it’s not someone suggesting the best way to deal with these issues just to sell books, it’s someone who has suffered loss on a personal level and wanted to write something to help others. With knowing some of the background, I firmly believe that The Magical Wood is the outpouring of Mark Lemon’s heart. It is possibly the book he may have wished was available for him or his family at their most difficult time, and in creating The Magical Wood he has written a book which I hope will help many young children and families going through these difficult and life changing events, giving them a platform to work through their bereavement.

The Magical Wood is simply a remarkable and magical resource for those suffering bereavement of a love one and a book we highly recommend!

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

The Magical Tree is published by Lemon Drop Books and is available to purchase here.

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Mark Lemon

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Mark Lemon has just published his 5th children’s book, The Magical Wood; written to help bereaved children and raise proceeds for children’s bereavement charity, Winston’s Wish.

 Lemon Drop Books
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