A mayfly might only live for one day, but what a day it is. In this delightful book, Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross capture the delights of nature and the amazing things that can happen in just one day.
''Here is Mayfly.
It is her first day on earth.
It is also her last''
This is the way that this wonderful book starts and the reader is left in no doubt that a mayfly's life is quite an extraordinary one. We go on to discover all the amazing things that the mayfly is able to see and do in this one special day. It will see eggs hatch, lambs trying to stand, taste honey on plants and feel the warmth of the sun as well as the summer rain. These are just some of the things that the mayfly will experience in this one remarkable day. The day ends with the mayfly laying her own eggs and leaving them to hatch.
This is a beautifully moving story that both my daughters loved. It helps to explain life and death and life cycles and how there are always new beginnings and fresh hope. My daughters found the book quite enchanting and it prompted lots of discussion from both of them. It's also a book that will really appeal to the senses with lots of wonderful things to hear, smell taste and see in the mayfly's day.
This is also a beautifully written book with some delightfully descriptive language that will introduce young readers to the idea of personification. One example of this is:
''She feels the sun's warm hug.
The kiss of summer rain.
The magic of the rainbow.''
This is typical of so many of the well chosen words and phrases that contribute to the beauty of this simple story. There is also an unhurried relaxed pace throughout the book that adds to the enjoyment. It seems to say that this time is so very special that no one or nothing will rush the mayfly through her first and last day.
My daughters were also enchanted by the wonderful illustrations that provide a mystical dreamlike effect to the story. They are muted pastels and are quite charming. In some ways, this is slightly surprising, as the author is Tony Ross who we know best for his boggle eyed depictions of the Little Princess and her family. These illustrations are so very different and quite magical.
Overall this is a wonderful book that is ideal for sharing with children of all ages. It's a lovely story with so much to enjoy in both the language and the illustrations. It's a sure winner with my daughters.
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk