The Circles in the Sky

Publisher: Walker

One morning Fox hears beautiful, haunting birdsong. He follows a flock of birds across the rushing river, past the forgotten house and through the old woodlands to a place where lots of flowers grow. The birds are huddled in a circle on the ground and when they burst into flight one is left there, lying still.

Fox tries scaring Bird, tries singing to Bird, tries offering Bird a worm. But there’s no response. It’s up to Moth to explain to Fox that Bird isn’t here any more. Bird has died. But, like the moon remembers the sun, they can remember Bird.

This is a gentle way of talking about death that is perfectly pitched for little ones. Moth acknowledges that sad things are hard to talk about and tells Fox that it’s OK to be sad. They sit in their grief and say their last goodbye. They agree that the circles in the sky (the sun and moon) will watch over Bird now. These rituals are shown an important part of grieving, and offer comfort.

With stunning artwork in rich autumnal colours, this first picture book written and illustrated by Karl James Mountford is utterly beautiful in both mood and style. It will be pored over for its beauty as well as the message.

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