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Not a spooky story: Oscar seeks a friend

Welcome to the UK Oscar! Polish author/illustrator Pawel Pawlak is the mind behind this unusual Halloween story for young children brought to life with beautiful cut-out illustrations. 
Not a spooky one, finally.

The seasonal creepy celebration of the the dead is turned into a sweet story of friendship between a lonely little skeleton (Oscar) and a lonely little red-haired girl: both have lost a tooth, both have a dream.. 

The border between the dark world of the dead on the left pages and the bright world of the living on the right is set in the middle of the page. As the two children meet they cross it to explore what's on the other side. And there, we are surprised with some delightful double-page spreads where both worlds are as exciting. 
I adore the fact that after seeing the sea, probably the most beautiful thing on planet Earth, Oscar takes the girl to his favourite place, a huge library full of books that he will have a death time to read:)
The two children will say goodbye at the end of the book, and we assume they will remain friends and keep meeting each other in time.

More than a Halloween story, more than a story about children's friendship. I see Oscar as a positive simple story about life and death, reminding how these ultimately permeate one another. 
Children don't need to be scared about death with silly books. Sorry, I believe that and will never endorse the dark take on Halloween with little ones. They can barely understand what death is and accept it (can you, grown ups?), we can't expect them too be able to play with the idea using irony.

I find cut-out art a perfect way to illustrate this story, as it makes the characters more concrete (not real) and playful at the same time, just like if a child had created them with scissors and paint, bringing them to life from his imagination.

Oscar seeks a friend is out now in bookshop in the UK, USA and Canada, and can be purchased online here.
Every book you purchase will help Lantana give a book to a child in a UK hospital.


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