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KERRY AND THE KNIGHT OF THE FOREST (2020) review

Neil reviews Andi Watson’s touching graphic story for young readers KERRY AND THE KNIGHT OF THE FOREST.

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Kerry and the Knight of the Forest (Penguin Random House)

Synopsis

After a spirit leads Kerry astray, he finds himself in an enchanted forest filled with mysterious creatures and dark dead ends. The further Kerry travels, the more hopeless his quest seems.

To get back to his parents, Kerry will have to find his way, figure out who to trust, make some tough choices about the kind of person he wants to be – or remain lost in the forest forever.

Review

Kerry and the Knight of the Forest is a touching story of childhood innocence wrapped in a fairytale-like cast of characters. A simple story with a very strong message which speaks of its audience through wonderful imagery.

When I first picked up the book, knowing it was aimed at readers in the 8-12 range, I thought it looked overlong. I could imagine a reader on the younger end of the scale being daunted at its 268 page count.

But how quickly I learnt that I was wrong. Kerry and the Knight of the Forest is both a page turner and a more visual story. Pages aren’t laden with complex dialogue so it’s not a heavily involved read. But more importantly the story is so touching and magical that I went from cover-to-cover in one sitting.

Granted I am a little above its target age-range. But Kerry is also the kind of book which parents will enjoy reading to their children. Watson’s story speaks to the basic idea of family, it speaks to the bond between parent and child. It also breathes life in to childish fantasies of magical creatures living out in the woods.

It’s hard to know which to complement more when it comes to author/illustrator Andi Watson. His easily accessible story. Or his beautiful artwork.

There’s fantastic use of colour throughout the book. The striking green cover is a shining example of how Watson implements colours throughout the story. Areas of the forest adhere to certain colour patterns centred around greens, blues and yellows.

Watson rarely utilises a full gamut of colour on any page. It gives Kerry an otherworldly feel in-keeping with the story. It creates a visual language to the story which is almost akin to breaking it in to chapters. As Kerry moves from place-to-place within the forest his journey is signposted by changing colours.

Watson’s character designs are whimsical and magical. Kerry and the other human characters have a wonderful flare to their designs. Characters like the Waystone and the Seedlings feel like they ripped straight from a child’s imagination and really round out the story perfectly.

A heartwarming conclusion ensures that Kerry is a must-have item on any young person’s bookshelf.

Verdict

Kerry and the Knight of the Forest is a beautiful, magical story which taps straight in to children’s imagination.

8/10

Kerry and the Knight of the Forest is written and illustrated by Andi Watson. The book is available now from Penguin Random House.


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