One Lone Swallow

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Corinne Fenton (text) and Owen Swan (illustrator), One Lone Swallow, New Frontier Publishing, November 2020, 32 pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781922326195

A swallow flies across a twilight sky looking for her lost mate.

Will she find him and get back to their nest in time?

Corinne Fenton takes us on a mesmerising journey of a mother swallow who, fearing for her mate, takes flight to find him. Corinne’s text gently reveals the mother’s plight, with enough suspense to keep little minds guessing as to what might transpire for the lone swallow and her family.

From piazzas and cathedrals, to the foot of Michelangelo’s statue of David, the illustrations are rich with history, and Owen Swan gives a subdued colour palette life, placing the reader firmly in the landscape of Florence with an aerial view of the enchanting city at dusk.

A wonderful resource is available in a set of teachers’ notes, for librarians and educators to discuss and share the history of Florence, Italy with pre-schoolers and kindergarteners. Additionally, the author’s passion for animals comes across lovingly in the text and opens the door for conversation about animals of all shapes and sizes, including the tiny and agile swallow. Parents will find this a calming and heart-warming story for bedtime reading with children.

The thoughtful dedication to Italy in the front of the picture book is a nod to its valued contribution to the arts and echoes throughout.

A poignantly told story about hope, companionship and determination, One Lone Swallow encourages us all to cherish the things we hold most dear, especially in challenging times.

Reviewed by Shelley Stephens

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