** I’ve linked this post in the Inspire Me Monday linky party hosted by Create With Joy. **
Title: One More Candle
Author: Merry Susiarjo
Illustrator: Emmeline Pidgen
Publication Date: September 1, 2013
Publisher: Twelve Elves Books
Recommended Age: 3+
Nola is just over a year younger than her sister Betty, and they decide to have one big, shared birthday party every year rather than each having a smaller one. But poor Nola gets upset that Betty always has one more candle than her, and fruitlessly seeks help from all the light-giving things she finds in the world outside. But just as she begins to accept the reality of their different ages, the solution comes as an enchantingly simple surprise. Emmeline Pidgen’s authentic and imaginative illustrations bring this sweet and gentle picture book story magically to life.
Available for pre-order through The Book Depository until September 1, 2013 (with FREE International Shipping).
Available through Amazon (US) starting September 1, 2013.
Sneak Peek Into the Book
My Thoughts: There is something magical about One More Candle by Merry Susiarjo. It is not often that I read a book that brings tears to my eyes; but, I must admit that the end of this book completely moved me. I won’t give anything away, but I do want to say that it is the combination of this beautiful, gentle story along with the whimsical illustrations that come together to create an absolutely tissue-worthy moment at the end.
The book tells the story of a girl, Nola, who is jealous that her older sister, Betty, always gets one more candle than herself on her birthday. Nola pleads with the fireflies, the sun, the lighthouse to “light up one more candle on my next birthday, please?” The angst and desperation felt by Nola is conveyed through the sweet story accompanied by beautiful imagery.
Anyone who has a sibling will be able to relate to the sense of injustice often experienced by younger siblings. It is often the case that older siblings do have certain privileges that younger siblings simply do not. In our household, my 10 year old daughter can have sleepovers while my 6 year old son cannot. He has to be 7 – that’s the rule. When he was younger, he could not wrap his head around this, but now, he’s simply waiting to turn 7. This isn’t limited to age. When we go to the local “Playland” (an amusement park), my son can’t go on some of the rides that his sister can because he’s shorter and there are height restrictions on some of the rides. C’est la vie!
For 4-year old Nola, it is difficult for her to accept that her sister has an extra candle on her cake, but by the time she turns 6, she has developed an understanding and acceptance of this matter. What I really appreciated about the way this realization occurs is that Nola then begins to focus on the parts of her birthday that bring her joy, such as having her friends attend her party, opening presents, and eating cake, instead of focusing on the one thing that is making her feel sad and jealous. I think this is an important lesson for children as well.
The illustrations in the book, by Emmeline Pidgen, fit beautifully with the story. I thought the scenes with Nola pleading with the fireflies, lantern fish, sun and so on were particularly creative. If there could be such a thing as foreshadowing in a picture book, I would say that the whimsy of those illustrations hint at the magic to come at the end. Oops! I said I wasn’t going to say more about this. 😉
My Bottom Line: One More Candle is a gentle story exploring the theme of sibling rivalry and featuring a wonderful surprise at the end. The illustrations are very well done and really help to convey the emotions experienced by Nola. I think that the story in this book could really open up a discussion between parents or teachers and younger children who may feel sibling jealousy or even a sense of injustice when they are prevented from experiencing something because of their age or because of other restrictions.
More Buzz About the Book
For another review of One More Candle please visit Story Snug: “One More Candle is a lovely story for showing children that there are some things that can’t be changed and must be accepted for the way they are.”
About The Author: Merry Susiarjo
Merry Susiarjo has a travelling spirit, a love of nature and strong family bonds that all feed into her writing. Merry was born in Indonesia in 1979 and grew up there until the age of fifteen with her two brothers and two sisters. The dynamics, conflicts and affections of the family started to inspire her at a young age. Now living in France with a husband and three children of her own, she can appreciate sibling relationships as an observer as well as a sister. Her imagination is wonderful in the true sense of the world – her stories ripe with vivid contemplations of childhood that take the reader through the magic of discovery, nature and family love.
Merry Susiarjo obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in French literature from Case Western Reserve University, USA and a Master of Arts degree in French literature and Linguistics (specialising in Language Acquisition in Early Childhood) with high distinction (mention très bien) from Université de Bretagne Occidentale, France. After accomplishing several research projects and participating in linguistic conferences, she decided to write stories for children. One More Candle is her first picture book.
Goodreads: One More Candle
* Giveaway *
Prize: We are giving away a hardcover copy of One More Candle by Merry Susiarjo PLUS a $10 Amazon gift card/PayPal Cash to one lucky winner.
Contest runs: August 15 to 31, 11:59 pm, 2013
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* I was given this book free-of-charge by the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own. The author has also opted to participate in our Book Promotion Program where we will tweet and share information about this book, the author, and the giveaway.*