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Featuring a hobbit-like communal village, and a strong theme of human-caused environmental destruction, it is reminiscent of The Lorax.
Like The Lorax, the narrator is gentle in tone but unfailingly convincing in message: it is up to the individual to help prevent the ruination of Planet Earth.
Luther and the Cloud-Makers is affecting in so many ways. Powerful, emotive imagery by Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson complements the language of dark threats and innocent lightness running throughout.
Luther, the young boy who bravely tackles the world of industry, never gives up. His success at challenging and then changing people's ignorant behaviour will inspire all readers that every individual can, and should, make a difference.
While this is a universal theme, here the story becomes personal to New Zealanders through the depiction of a landscape dotted - early on, at least - with harakeke, toetoe and ponga, where kea swoop through the bright skies.
A piwakawaka, perhaps foreboding, accompanies Luther through the darkening land.
And determined Luther will be instantly recognisable to children and adults alike as a New Zealand boy.
This beautiful and sensitive story, for children about 4-7, is one that will linger. Highly recommended.
- Jessie Neilson is a Dunedin reader.