by Karl Beckstrand (Author), Yaniv Cahoua (Illustrator)
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book at no cost for an honest review.
Some of the oldest stories known to humanity are instructional tales. They told children how to interact with elders and how to react with strange situations. These tales stood the test of time because they spoke to the reality of the world around the readers. “The Bridge of the Golden Wood” harkens beautifully back to these old fairy tales and expands on them in a manner that brings it into the modern world with all its complexity.
The artwork by Yaniv Cahoua has a soft golden beauty that is soothing and inviting. The watercolor style paintings are fairly simple but the characters from the fish to the people are expressive and engaging.
The story itself – by Karl Beckstrand – is engaging and easy to follow but not particularly gripping. It is clearly meant to be instructional following the tradition of the old fairy tales though the author makes the lesson as intriguing as possible. The young protagonist is believable and relatable to the point that most readers will be certain that they know the kid. The boy is met with a stranger in the wood – as in all the best fairy tales – and is faced with the choice of making the kind and responsible decision or selfishly going on his way. The story illustrates that it is not only the choice in the moment that matters to success and profit but preparation and readiness as well. At the end of the book there are suggested discussions and projects that an adult reader can guide a child reader through to gain a practical understanding of earning money and providing a service to their fellow creatures.
All in all and pleasant read and a good addition the library of any young scholar.