The Naming of Tishkin Silk by Glenda Millard
Griffin Silk is an unsual boy from an equally unusual family. The baby of the family, Griffin struggles with a terrible secret until one day, he meets a girl with a daisy crown on her head. He knows instantly that he’s met a real fairy princess and her name is Layla. Together Griffin and his new found friend tackle everything from bullies at school to the secret that Griffin has kept so close to his heart.
There’s a lot to love in this short read. Griffin and his family are a breath of fresh air and you will end up wanting to be part of them by the end of the book, they’re just so creative! All Griffin’s older sisters (each with their own Rainbow name and beautifully carved Naming Day book); grandmother Nell dressing up her rubber washing up gloves and acting the part of fairy godmother; Layla as the fairy princess – gah, I just want to join in!
Millard comes from Australia and I have to say, I’ve rarely read such rich descriptions of a place in my life. You can almost feel the grasses brushing against your legs or the ground beneath your toes as Griffin takes of his boots on the way home. It feels so decadent to read something like this, it’s almost lush sometimes.
There is a distinct Michael Morpurgo vibe too to this slim little read. I don’t mean in terms of style so much (Millard certainly has her own and it’s very engaging), rather it reminds me of Morpurgo because it’s a story for younger readers that feels quite mature. You feel more grown up for reading it even though it’s not written in a grown up way, if that makes sense. I’ve labelled it as 5-8 but to be honest, this could easily be read by 9-10 year old readers too.
The one criticism I have is that the ending is rather simplified. Without giving it away, I’m not convinced that the problem would be solved that easily. Then again, this is me being especially nitpicky I think. In a book for younger readers like this I’m not entirely sure that sort of subject can be covered in all it’s depth anyway so I think this criticism doesn’t really have much in the way of teeth.
A gorgeous read with some of the best scene setting I’ve ever read and with a family I adore. Even better, it’s the first in a series!
Find The Naming of Tishkin Silk here.