Today is the final stop on the blog tour for Finney’s Story by Alana Washington and Charlotte Caswell and I will be giving you the chance to win a copy of the book!
Finney’s Story is a unique picture book which is fitting as the book is all about original storytelling. Alana won UCLan’s ‘Finney The Fox Picture Book Prize’ which sought out a story for the publishing house’s mascot. The main character, Finney the fox, is the personification of UClan’s logo (named after Preston Football legend, Sir Tom Finney). You can read more about Alana’s unusual publication journey via My Shelves Are Full. Finney wants to write a story, but his friend cat spots a problem. It turns out Finney’s original ideas are not so original. Children will delight in spotting well-known fairy tales hidden in Finney’s story ideas…
As an author myself, I could really relate to Finney’s writing process! The delight of considering himself an “ideas machine”…
…and then going to the library to do some research and feeling like all the original ideas have already been done!
But what is an original idea? And how do you find one? There is a lovely nod to stories written from lived experience and a reminder that everyone deserves to see themselves represented in books.
Ultimately, Finney decides the story he wants to write is his own unique story. Perhaps – he’ll go on to write more and more stories besides his life story, but getting the confidence to write your first story is often the hardest. For that reason, I think this book would be a good introductory text to share with children in a creative writing session. I can imagine children would enjoy taking on the same task as Finney, writing their own life story and growing in confidence as young storytellers.
Finney is brought to life through Charlotte’s illustrations. The bright and bold background colours contrast the black illustrations and fascinated my one-year-old. Charlotte shared her illustration journey with Story Snug where you can see how the cover design developed – it’s absolutely fascinating! Children can learn how to draw their own Finney Fox via The Teacher Bookworm.
I cannot think of a better story for the mascot of a publisher. Finney’s Story highlights the wonderful interplay between the words and illustrations in picture books and promotes original storytelling. The book also comes with a free audioreading narrated by Sarah-Ann Kennedy. Listening to the audio book completely transformed my three-year-old’s experience, bringing the dialogue to life and adding to the humour. She instantly recognised Sarah-Ann’s voice, who is best known for Peppa Pig’s Rebecca Rabbit and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom’s Nanny Plum. Finney’s Story is a humorous picture book, packed full of charm and personality.
Published by UClan Publishing, 4 March 2021
About the author:
Alana Washington lives near London with her husband, their two daughters and two mischievous cats, Wanda and Clooney. She studied fine art at the University of Brighton and has been a primary school teacher for over 15 years. Finney’s Story is Alana’s first picture book.
About the illustrator:
Charlotte Caswell lives in Blackpool. She graduated from UCLan with a bachelor’s degree in Drawing & Image Making in 2013 and a master’s degree in Children’s Book Illustration in 2014. Since then, she has worked as a designer and illustrator for a wide range of branding, packaging and illustration projects (including UCLan Publishing’s logo), both in-house and as a freelancer.
It’s been an incredible tour!
You may also like:
“What About Me?” Said the Flea by Lily Murray and Richard Merritt
A funny and bright story that reminds us everyone deserves feature as a main character in a story – even a flea!
Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson
A though-provoking story about not judging my appearances where the Milo draw stories of people’s lives in his journal.
The Secret of Me by Amy Sparkes and Sandra De La Prada
An uplifting story about how you can be anything and the power of imagination.
I am very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. This voluntary review contains my honest opinion.