Friday, June 17, 2022

Review: Paradise Sands by Levi Pinfold

When I saw today's read, I grabbed it up and, maybe, even squealed. This one promises a slightly darker direction...not too dark, mind you...but takes a more haunting twist. I expect beautiful writing and even better illustrations. And I'm betting this one isn't only for kids.

Ready to see if my gut was right? 

by Levi Pinfold
Candlewick Studio
Picture Book
41 pages
ages 5 - 9

NOVEMBER 22nd!!!

A captivating tale of eerie places and mystical bargains, sumptuously illustrated by Kate Greenaway Medalist Levi Pinfold

Washed clean in his pool, we fall under his rule . . .
Away from what is, we all are now his.

When a young girl and her older brothers step into the ghostly Paradise Sands hotel, they fall under the rule of the mysterious Teller. The girl makes a deal with the commanding creature to free them all from his haunting paradise—and let them return to their mother, white roses in hand. But can the girl, determined as she is, hold up her side of the bargain? A contemporary story with the feel of a classic fairy tale, Levi Pinfold’s Paradise Sands is lush with enchanting illustrations, rendered in a muted palette with the artist’s distinctive stylistic realism.



Haunting and beautifully illustrated, this is one of those tales, which pulls in, skirts the borders of unsettling, and inspires with love and selfless determination.

On the way to visit their mother, a young girl encourages her three brothers to pull to the side of the road for a minute and pick a bouquet of flowers growing along an otherwise sandy, desert landscape. While picking, they run into a large castle with clear, refreshing water running on by. Hot from the day's heat, the brothers take a drink, and then, enter the palace to find even more inviting things. Only the girl remains careful, and soon, is the only one who might be able to save brothers from the master of a mysterious place. And that will come at a price.

This is one of those rare picture books, which lures the reader on a fantastical journey and leaves a mark long after the last page is done. This one is sold for ages 5 to 8, but adults will even enjoy the depth and food for thought. It takes the reader into a haunting fairy tale, where there isn't a true evil, but rather, bad decisions force a path, which breaks the heart. Courage and family love radiate loud and clear, as the 'weakest' needs to become the secret heroine.

The illustrations are a treat and create a very realistic world in the fantastical realm. They aren't frightening but carry the same subtle, haunting atmosphere as the tale. These are the type of illustrations worth visiting more than once.

The writing flows smoothly and holds more than a few wise phrases and messaged words. It's poetic, while packing in food for thought. While the younger end of the intended audience will understand the general gist of the story, these finer meanings and depth are geared more toward an older audience. It is a read, which will be revisited and will be finding a spot on my own book shelves.

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