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Corey’s Rock ISBN: 9781910959978
Brahmachari, Sita and Ray, Jane
Published by Otter-Barry Books, 2018
This tender, sensitive and beautifully illustrated book is a balm for the soul whether one has lost a sibling (or anyone else). Elegiac poetry expresses perfectly the sadness of Isla, who has come with her parents to live in the Scottish island where her mother grew up to grieve over the loss of Corey, Isla’s younger brother of five, who has died after many years of illness and operations. Isla is bereft, not only of Cory but of her old home in Edinburgh and the friends she has left behind. Dad, who had Nigerian parents, is black, so this is a mixed race family, and there is much about the connections of the Yoruba people with the Orcadians. Mum has had great difficulty in adjusting to the loss of Cory. She doesn’t seem to be the same mum at all, and Isla misses her comfort too. She has strange dreams where Cory and the Selkie legends of the seals become intertwined in singular ways. In one dream she finds a Selkie skin, which she holds and finds comfort in, and in another a young naked boy comes to the house and she gives him the skin which he takes to himself and dives into the sea. The rock of the title is the rock where the family went to say goodbye to Cory and send rose petals seaward, and it becomes a place of refuge to Isla and her dad where they watch the seals at play. The new school is difficult at first, but Isla finds a friend in Magnus, a boy who seems to understand her, and when he comes to join her one day at Corey’s rock they share a cheerful communion with the seals. The ending is happy because Mum has managed to go back to her job of midwifery and delivered a baby, Magnus’s little brother, who has been named Corey, and Mum has become more herself again. The healing for the family will come, although Corey will always be with them in the magic of their island. The illustrations on each page are enchanting and very, very beautiful. A special book in every way.
Age: 9+