Summer is over…it hardly seems possible. But the days are getting shorter; the bright summer flowers are starting to give way to a different hue and a new Fletcher’s Four Seasons book is offering to take us on another journey into the changing woodland and fields nearby his home. The Fletcher books have become very special in my small space in the world, and this one brings a renewed sense of hope and wonder as the season begins to turn….
FLETCHER AND THE RAINBOW
author: Julia Rawlinson
illustrator: Tiphanie Beeke
Graffeg Ltd (26 August 2021)
“Sunlight on raindrops,” said Fletchers’ mum, “So beautiful, but it will soon be gone.”
As the autumn leaves are whipped through the rain-damp woods and the stormy sky plays host to the wind and rain clouds, Fletcher and his mum see a beautiful rainbow arch across, lighting up the sky with colour. Fletcher wonders if he can save it. Fletcher darts off through the woods, looking for the rainbows’ end. He has to hurry if he wants to catch the rainbow. Along the way, he is guided by his friends as it moves further and further away. On and on through the dripping woods, tumbling down a slippery bank to the stream, across a field of blue harebells, over to the bramble hedge… Will Fletcher catch the rainbow in time? Or will he and his friends have to find another way to keep it shining forever?
Something that must be noted about the Fletchers’ Four Seasons books is the way they perfectly capture the sense of childlike vision of the world; the wonder. This urgent feeling of “wow” is a thing we tend to set aside somewhere in the recesses of our hearts and minds as we get bigger and busier… and that is a real shame. Here is a story that brings it all back. Fletcher wants to catch the rainbow, not for the mythical pot of gold that it may bring, but to keep the beauty and wonder of it safe and alive. And not just for his own pleasure, but for the rainbows’ sake. It gives us the very essence of compassion. And it moves the reader into a space that can only be described as magical.
A wondrous exploration of the natural world (or one pocket of it,) we catch a glimpse of the forest and fields turning from the warm summer months into the cool and restful days of autumn. The beautiful, child-friendly illustrations capture that change and echo the palette of the rainbow in the landscape. We meet many of Fletchers’ friends; the little birds, hedgehog, squirrel, goose, rabbits as they are busy preparing for the upcoming winter months. But they are never too busy to help Fletcher in his chase, or reassure him when he needs it. And though he is running out of time on his mission, Fletcher is not too busy to stop and help them. The thread of friendship and generosity runs strong through the story, but as the season is turning, it seems gentler, quieter, with an inner warmth that reflects the needs of this time of year. We feel it in the words and we see it in the textures,details and depth of colour in the pictures. The sparkling surprise at the end of the tale brings us back to that “wow” feeling and shows the fun you can have with nature, igniting and encouraging a creative spark in children. And it rounds out what I think it is pretty perfect picturebook.
A story of friendship, the surprising beauty of nature, kindness, consideration and hope; Fletcher and the Rainbow will melt your heart and lend a quiet joy that will last all the autumn season, and all the year through. Charming, quietly adventurous, imaginative, delightful…filled with autumnal warmth.
The original four Fletchers’ Four Seasons books were relaunched by Graffeg Ltd in 2020. Fletcher and the Rainbow is the second of four brand-new seasonal stories, the first being Fletcher and the Caterpillar in March 2021. Based around this kind-hearted fox, his many friends and their adventures in the nature that surrounds them, they are the perfect introduction to the beauty, wonder and importance of the natural world. Thank you so very much to Graffeg Ltd (and especially Bethan) for sharing Fletchers’ stories with me. https://graffeg.com/products/fletcher-and-the-rainbow