Just Imagine

Corey’s Rock

Authored by Sita Brahmachari
Illustrated by Jane Ray
Published by Otter-Barry

Corey’s Rock is the illustrated tale of a young girl coming to terms with the loss of a younger sibling as she begins a new life, with her parents, on the Orkney Islands.

Corey’s Rock is a very special book.

Perhaps that single line paragraph might help to make this clear. Perhaps I need to substantiate this claim to ‘specialness’. What makes Corey’s Rock quite so special? Let me count the ways:

First, we have the spiraling poetic language that gently, but insistently, nudges its characters onward, reverberating with the recent past as it echoes across the book, so that Isla and her parents edge gently forward, drawing closer to something like acceptance, something like recovery, and then something that we might tentatively describe as happiness.

Then we have the illustrations. Illustrations that work with and around that poetic language. If you are interested in picturebook codes, there is so much to linger on here.  From the stunning cover, to the profoundly telling endpapers, and then slowly through the careful use of picture, symbol and space, this is an especially crafted, especially beautiful dance of word and image. I am not going to go into specific detail. The book needs to be experienced as an unfolding whole.

We also have the rich thematic elements.  Amnesty International have endorsed the book for illuminating the human rights values of family, friends home, safety and refuge.  That is a very fair and accurate summary of much of the books deeper content.  To this I would add the power of storytelling and myth, and how this intertwines with our sense of home and the space around us. Not to mention the role of dreams in sorting out the impossible-to-sort-out.

This is a book – much like Story Like the Wind – that would lend itself to small group study in Key Stage Two – perhaps Year 4 and upwards.  It provides a chance to explore the interplay of word and image and how these can work to profound effect.

Corey’s Rock is a very special book. A very special book.