Title: The Giant’s Necklace
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Illustrator: Briony May Smith
Publisher: Walker Books
RRP: $19.99

While on holidays Cherry creates a necklace by threading pink cowrie shells she has found at the beach on to an old fishing line. The eleven-year-old is the only girl in her family with four older brothers. Determined to have her necklace reach its required length on the last day of holidays, Cherry spends the day hunting for shells. Her family leaves the beach early to pack for their return, leaving Cherry to her task. She is so engrossed in her search she does not see the storm approaching. Her path is blocked by the incoming tide and she is washed into the sea, finally awaking on the beach. Cherry decides to climb the cliff in an attempt to return home and sees a light coming from a cave. Following the glow she meets an unlikely duo. After spending time with them they send her on her way, only to realise the truth of her situation.

This short story was first published in 1982. This edition sees it in a short illustrated novel for young readers. It is a sad and melancholy ghost story. Michael Morpurgo sets the family scene succinctly from the beginning; the reader is in no doubt how loved this little girl is. The writing flows beautifully with exquisitely descriptive language. The illustrations by Briony May Smith are superb. They range in size and colour, some framed, some taking a double page spread. Some pages have several small illustrations placed in a similar way to graphic novels, slowing the visual reading to suit the verbal narrative.

This would be a lovely read together book, if not read aloud for a class. It is quite sad, so it might be a good idea to read it first! In fact, I think this book is suitable for all ages. Along with the superb writing and beautiful illustrations, it is exquisitely presented. The slipcover removes to reveal an illustrated hard cover, the only words on the spine, gorgeous.

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Thank you to Walker Books for supplying this book for review.

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