Everything scares Elsie: people, children, spiders and trees. She stays inside her house for safety; a place that is tidy and clean, and very grey. Then one day something sky-blue flies in through an open window. She sweeps it into the fire, but can’t sleep that night, her dreams haunted by thoughts of her house filled with flying things. Elsie is still scared the next morning when she hears a knock on her front door. Outside is a small boy looking for his paper plane. It was blue.
Damm’s artwork consists of beautifully lit dioramas with cut-out characters that move through hand-made paper scenes. As the boy explores Elsie’s house, his curiosity is sparked by old photographs and books. His chatter changes Elsie by rekindling childhood memories, but it also changes her home, her black and white preserved rooms become scenes of warm multicoloured cosiness by the end of the book.
A beautifully simple but strikingly visual tale about the importance of letting people into your life, the universality of talking about books and photographs, and the difference a friend can make.