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Review of The Promise by Tracey Spring, ABC

For more than two decades, Compass documentary film-maker, and author, Tracey Spring, has produced some of Australia’s most well-loved and memorable documentary features on the ABC, including Kumi’s Japan, The Accidental Archivist, and Dancing@100 – the subject of which (Eileen Kramer) she co-authored the book, Eileen. In 2012, Tracey interviewed the author of The Promise, Richard Dove, as part of the Compass feature, Aussie African Dads, aired on Father’s Day that year – they have stayed in touch.

Magnificently, kindheartedly, with generous, sagacious insight, Tracey has reviewed our little book. She is second in our Little White Bird Press Christmas Campaign to sell a million books before Christmas! - again, wishful thinking.

By the way, our third and final review of The Promise – next week! – is by an up and rising star of the screen in Ireland, and throughout the world. Stay tuned.

Review of The Promise

by Tracey Spring

When I sat down to read The Promise, something immediately happened. Time slowed down. I was taken into a child’s world, free of reference to location or date. We could be anywhere at any time in history. A boy living a simple life with his parents and animals, somewhere ‘in the centre of a great stony plain’.

Soon this peaceful life is shattered when the boy (who is suitably nameless) goes through an ordeal that takes him away from all he knows and loves. Scared, lonely and hungry, he yearns for the joys of his simple life, and for the first time, experiences suffering. As his ‘dark night of the soul’ descends, he makes a promise.

Richard Dove’s The Promise is a kind of fable. His writing is thoughtful and direct, guiding with a steady and sensitive hand. The illustrations by Kyoko Imazu have a delicate pace that complement the magical world Richard has created.

The boy soon becomes a man, and he never forgets his promise. As the modern world progresses around him, he remains the same. There is something beautiful and epic about the man growing older and not chasing more than what he has. A life of simple values surrounded by nature. Without realising, he has become a leader, a teacher, and ultimately fulfills the promise he made as a boy.

There is a lot of wisdom and beauty in this book. It is a little gem, a joy to hold and read.

It should become a classic.

Purchase a copy of The Promise for a child or friend here: Little White Bird Press

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