Monday, 20 March 2017

Harper And The Night Forest - Cerrie Burnell

Total fantasy bliss! Magical birds, dark forests, and fairytale cities: there’s no better book to get lost in. Harper is on a mission! Rumours tell of the mysterious Ice Raven who lives among the ebony trees, singing a magical song that can melt hardened hearts. Now the Wild Conductor wants to capture this mythical bird and create the greatest orchestra ever known. So Harper and her friends set off to find the bird. Their journey takes them from the mysterious Night Forest to the City of Singing Clocks. But soon Harper realises she faces a dilemma. Should a wild, free creature like the Ice Raven ever be tied down?

I first came across Cerrie Burnell's Harper books shortly after the first book, Harper And The Scarlet Umbrella, was first released in all its sparkly hardback loveliness. I thought it would be great for the 7-year-old but naturally, I wanted to read it first! I fell in love with Harper and her fantastical bunch of friends so was pleased to see a second book, Harper And The Circus Of Dreams, and a World Book Day special, Harper And The Sea Of Secrets. Needless to say, we're big fans here at the Outsider!

In Harper And The Scarlet Umbrella, all the cats are mysteriously disappearing, including Harper's own cat Midnight. Harper and friends set out to find the missing felines and stumble across a mysterious conductor. In Harper And The Circus Of Dreams, a magical circus appears in the skies, tethered only by birds! Harper And The Sea Of Secrets is all about a magical music festival and the race to find the missing musical instruments before it's too late!

Harper And The Night Forest takes a slightly different direction in that we move into the wonderful world of fairy tales! Just when I thought I couldn't love the Harper books any more Cerrie comes up with the story of the Ice Raven and the Lone Wolf, a wonderfully sad fairy tale about a witch's daughter and a prince separated by the witch through sheer jealousy and left to wander alone forever unless someone can discover the ending to their tale.

I would love to live in Cerrie's imagination, the sheer brilliance of the Night Forest where fairy tales are carved on the trees and the Fairy-Tale Keepers live in a gingerbread cottage, the City of Singing Clocks where there is a clock for each fairy tale set to the time each was started and best of all, each fairy tale comes alive on a year on the date of its creation and the characters themselves roam the Forest. And the food! Rose lemonade, cherry muffins, and salty pretzels sound like my idea of heaven!

Though the book is obviously about Harper, Nate, Liesel, and Ferdie all play a big part in solving the unfinished fairy-tale and in helping the Wild Conductor (not my favorite character but then he's not meant to be!). I love that Nate was the one most influential in helping with the tale of the Ice Raven and the Lone Wolf, along with Smoke, his most beloved wolf. I think Liesel continues to be my favorite character though, described as small, wild, and grubby she shares my sheer joy in fairy tales and agrees that you shouldn't mess with them either... What remains my favorite element throughout, are the wonderful illustrations of Laura Ellen Anderson. She somehow manages to draw the perfect illustrations to match Cerrie's magical words and I hope that Harper's stories carry on being so wonderfully illustrated. Any time she'd love to draw Oscar I'll happily agree!

Harper And The Night Forest - Cerrie Burnell 
ISBN - 9781407172767
Publisher - Scholastic
Release date - March 2nd, 2017

Many thanks to Scholastic for providing me with a copy of Harper And The Night Forest in exchange for a fair & unbiased review!

Cerrie Burnell is a much-loved presenter on Cbeebies. She was named in the Observer’s top ten children’s presenters and also featured in the Guardian’s 2011 list of 100 most inspirational women where she received praise for tackling disability head on. Cerrie divides her time between London and Manchester. Her bestselling picture books Snowflakes and Mermaid, illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson, have won critical acclaim. Magical adventure Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella was her first novel for young readers.


When she's not trying to take over the world or fighting sock-stealing monsters, Laura Ellen Anderson is a professional children's book author & illustrator, with an increasing addiction to coffee. She spends every waking hour creating & drawing and would quite like to live on the Moon when humans finally make it possible.  

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