The Poesy Ring

Authored by Bob Graham
Illustrated by Bob Graham
Published by Walker Books

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An introduction into the turbulent, but fulfilling, journey life can take us on.

Subtitled as a love story, The Poesy Ring starts with heartbreak in Ireland in 1830. For reasons unknown, a woman throws a ring from her horse; a ring ironically engraved with the words ‘Love never dies’. However, this does offer the reader a slither of hope. The narrative then follows the ring over a number of years until it ends up in New York in the 60s, and in the hands of two people very much in love – the ring finally fulfilling its purpose.

What comes across most when reading this is how personal it feels. Graham has dedicated the book to his wife and their relationship of 50 years. And as beautiful as that is, I don’t feel invited into the story, which feels autobiographical. For example, the book left me craving to know more about these characters and their relationships. The ups and downs that make love stories so involving. Maybe the ring’s wild time between fingers represents such times instead.

It is a beautiful book. One of my favourite lines is, “Years went by, then the earth peeled and folded, and with the soft thud of the surf, and the screeching of the gulls… the ring surfaced again into the light.” The artwork brings out the mood of the story: the brooding beginning, the tumultuous middle, and the romantic end. The mixture of double-page spreads, and pages with multiple images, really help capture movement and the passing of time.

Suited for KS1, The Poesy Ring is a beautiful introduction to relationships and the journey life can take us on.