Brambleheart

by Henry Cole (2016)

A Sweet Spot selection.

“Sometimes the things we want and the things we love get tangled up in our hearts like bramble when we try to do what’s right.”

This poetic notion encapsulates the adventures in the novel, Brambleheart, written and illustrated by Henry Cole. Sometimes it is hard to choose between the things we want and the things we love. It is difficult to always do the right thing.

These poignant questions will resonate with families as they read the tale of Twig, a chipmunk who is desperately trying to determine his future in Hill society. Fellow animal friends seem to have such skills and prowess, like his rabbit friend Lily heading toward a life as a Master Weaver. Twig has yet to find a craft at which he can excel – besides getting lost in his imagination. Is he really destined to be a lowly Errand Runner?

Twig’s fortune begins to change when he finds a mysterious egg that hatches, introducing us to the talented and faithful dragon, Char. Twig and Char make quite a team, creating amazing metalwork projects together. Twig keeps Char’s help a secret from everyone except Lily, passing off the beautiful pieces as his own. That plan falls apart when the town bully, a weasel named Basil, discovers the truth and Char is taken away from Twig and locked up.

Twig’s mother tells him, “Find your heart. You’ll do the right thing.”

What follows is a story of loyalty, responsibility, and even redemption for Basil. Twig, Lily, and Basil rescue Char so they can return him to the river and he can find his way home. What happens after they set sail? Well, you’ll just have to read the sequel, Bayberry Island, to find out!

Cole brings his characters alive and his inviting style will have readers rooting for Twig and his adventurous path of discovery. Cole’s detailed illustrations will help younger listeners get swept away with this beautiful story. And the ingenuity of the animals of the Hill society will invite budding artists and engineers to get busy making creations out of found materials.

We have all experienced times when our heart felt like it was in brambles. Twig’s story will help young readers develop faith in themselves as they learn to navigate those thorny times.

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