Written & Illustrated by: 

Corrinne Averiss & Kirsti Beautyman

For ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered:

  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Anxiety
  • Family
  • Starting School
  • Love



Not only are the illustrations in this book truly resplendent, but it also addresses a topic that nearly everyone has experienced in some capacity or another: separation anxiety. In the best of times, children often feel anxiety about starting school. In the next couple of years once vaccination and school schedules are attended to more in-person, I expect a massive uptick in these feelings.

Tess lives with her family in a cozy little house that also doubles as her father’s workshop. They all love each other and go everywhere together. When it comes time for Tess to go to school alone, her mother gives the beautiful analogy that their love is connected by a string. Tess goes about her day, and also comes to find out that other strings might start to appear as she meets new people as well.

I love how Tess’ mom is drawn, she looks like a real person. She has tattoos and wears off the shoulder tops, much like lots of parents my own age. The metaphor of the golden string signifying love is also so sweet, as is the idea of it wrapping around someone like a warm scarf. It’s completely reasonable and natural to have this anxiety about starting school, and this sweet story is the perfect beginning of the year read aloud.

This book was a generous surprise from Quarto, but all opinions are my own!

Corrinne Averiss

Corrinne is a writer of tender and humorous stories for children.

Her work includes critically-acclaimed CILIP Greenaway-nominated, A Dot in the SnowFloss the Playground BossThe Boy on the BenchJoy,  and Sorrel and the Sleepover. Corrinne has spent much of her life being a professional silly person in children’s television; she created the four-time Children’s BAFTA-winning Share a Story competition and has an animated series under commission from CBeebies. She currently lives in Manchester, England, with her husband, daughter and cat.

Kirsti Beautyman

Kirsti Beautyman works from her studio in Newcastle Upon Tyne, using a range of mediums to build layers of texture and detail which are combined digitally to create her illustrations. She finds inspiration within mundane observations and is often staring vacantly into the distance thinking up narratives and ideas. Kirsti won Picture Hooks Illustrator of the Year Award in 2017.