The sun is shining, the picnic has been laid out and a family of four are enjoying the perfect afternoon in the woods near their home. When Mum and Dad reach for their books, the two sisters decide to build a den. They gather sticks and leaves and they sing joyfully as they work. But as the younger girl adds the final touches, she realises there is something wrong with her sister. She looks pale and she doesn’t have the energy to finish their game.
The little girl learns that her sister is sick and soon visits to the woods are replaced with hospital visits and waiting. The perfect shelter which they had built just a short while ago falls in to disrepair as the seasons change.
When the snow comes her sister seems a little brighter, even though she must stay in her bed and wear a scarf on her head. Together they cuddle and whisper, making secret plans in the way only sisters can. They might not be able to build the perfect shelter outdoors right now, but if they work together they might just be able to create something even better…
This touching story helps children deal with the complex mix of emotions experienced when someone close to them has a serious illness. It’s beautifully written and strikes just the right balance between fear and hope. The illustrations are light and fresh which means that, although the subject matter is heavy, the book ultimately leaves the reader feeling positive and uplifted.
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Disclosure: The publisher provided us with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.