At the End of Holyrood Lane

Written by Dimity Powell

Illustrated by Nicky  Johnston

Reviewed by Mia Macrossan

This quietly powerful story is an extended metaphor about domestic violence in a child’s life.

Flick’s life is calm, pleasant and full of play except when unpredictable storms occur which turn her sunny world upside down. She hides from the storm wherever she can – under the wash basket, under the bed or in the cupboard. One day a monstrous storm strikes and there is nowhere to hide, and the storm is so furious that she is driven to seek help. It works and the storm leaves.

Sensitive language, ‘angry clouds’, ‘bully the curtains’, quickly indicates that this is more than a natural storm. This external storm is a mirror to the turmoil and anguish that a child experiences during domestic violence. Powell carefully shows the effects on a child in this situation. Flick is an expert at hiding, she flees, she tries to ignore it, it makes her feel smaller than she really is.

The artwork, mainly in muted stormy greys and greens, shows Flick alone, isolated, always clutching her toy unicorn for comfort. It is a powerful moment when Flick finally finds the courage to seek help. The positive ending is believable and joyfully realised in the simple uncluttered artwork. The unicorn endpapers are delightful.

The book’s practical message of ‘get help, it works’, comes across in a powerful but understated way that children can relate to.

This sensitively written book will be a useful resource for all those working with children.

EK Books 2018 Picture Book Hardback $24.99 ISBN 9781925335767

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