Carbonel is a fantasy children’s book written by Barbara Sleigh. Despite being released in the 1950’s, it was not a book I had been aware of until quite recently . I was able to ascertain the books age by the very clean 50’s tone it is written in, and although it is dated it still managed to entertain me.
It is a book that can be read in an afternoon and a quick simple read. Whilst it certainly is not the gripping stories I have become accustomed to reading as an adult the visuals allowed me fall in love with the book. I actually could picture this as a cute Studio Ghibli anime, there is something reminiscent of Kiki’s Delivery Service.
This charming tale follows young Rosemary, who wishes to pass the school holidays by cleaning houses. However, when Rosemary buys a broom at the market, she inherits a cat who she can hear only when holding the broomstick. Rosemary discovers had bought a witch’s broomstick and that Carbonel was bound to the magic of its owner. Now Rosemary must return Carbonel to his throne as he is the rightful king of the cats.
The children’s book is written with a very peaceful tone. Each chapter feels reminiscent of simpler times. My only criticism is the story can be too simplistic at times. The main character’s are far to patient and kind considering their age, and there is hardly any bickering. However, this arguably gives the story it’s humble fairy tale charm about it. It is clearly aimed at young readers and thus makes an enjoyable read.
I particularly liked the British settings, from the town market, to the (cliche) large mansion. These were typical places I used to write or read about as a child. (Especially if magic was involved). With that in mind reading Carbonel made me feel in touch with my childhood.
I would certainly read it to my younger nephews and nieces.