Todd-Stanton’s picturebook shows the impact on a child’s life when uprooted from the home they love. A father and his little girl, Nyla, leave their home by the sea for a new life in the city. The comet becomes the imaginative link between Nyla’s old and new life with landscape and sky featuring heavily.
The skill of Todd-Stanton as an illustrator is evidenced in the exquisite detailed drawings and subtle use of colour. Change of place is captured in tones of bright yellow, green and blue gradating to brown, dull grey and darkness.
Use of perspective is to the forefront in this book, whether it is framing the image of the child chasing the comet across the sky over two pages or the full-scale perspective encompassing a whole house interior from top to bottom. The double-page view of the sea at night from the child’s bedroom is exceptional, with paintings within a painting illustrated.
While this book is best for younger readers, the comic strip type panels also carry the story for an older audience, with the only caveat being the size of the text as more suited for a beginner reader. It leaves a feeling that the text size has suffered at the expense of the illustrations, which are beautifully rendered.
Illustration-wise, this is a book of discovery, on the lines of Anno’s Journey by the Japanese illustrator, Mitsumasa Anno, with so much to examine on every page. Notwithstanding the minor irritant about text size, this is a book I would want on my shelf.