The Brontës – Children of the Moors is a lovely book written and illustrated by Mick Manning and Brita Granström, published by Hachette. This awesome book tells us the story of Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne’s life, through simple words and lovely images. In fact, it is an illustrated biography, and Charlotte herself tells her story to Michael, a kid who fell asleep on the moors around Haworth while waiting for his turn to play the part of a shepherd boy for a new TV series of Wuthering Heights by BBC. So Michael (who actually was a young Mick, one of the authors of the book) falls asleep, and Charlotte comes to him in a dream.
Thanks to Charlotte’s voice then, the reader too is guided to the village and out on the moors as in a dream; quick, rapid brush strokes, resembling the strong wind of those lands, sketch amazing images for us, and we are there: we can easily see the grey stones of the Black Bull and the dark buildings in Main Street. Charlotte’s tale starts with the Brontë family moving to Haworth and ends with Charlotte’s wedding.
None of the most important events in the Brontës’ lives is missing- we learn about Cowan Bridge, Roe Head and the Belgium experience, about the peaceful walks on the moors and chaotic London, about the imaginary worlds of Gondal and Angria, and also, about their successful novels. But, as we know, lots of unhappy events happened to the Brontës, and even if Charlotte’s tale looks like a fable, she shares even the saddest and most painful things they went through thanks to simple and sweet words.
In our opinion the most touching illustrations are those showing the Brontë siblings inside the Parsonage, that very house we have seen so many times- always empty. Since now we could only imagine the four kids playing together, reading or working in those rooms. But between the pages of this book we can magically find Charlotte, Emily, Branwell and Anne sitting there, in the kitchen, telling their stories, or in the sitting room, writing at that table where Emily carved the first letter of her name. Young Mick’s dream ends with Charlotte’s last words: “And this, dear listener, is all I have to tell you”; but actually, as he walks away, the kid can hear her whispering a song which almost sounds like a promise:
“Well-well; the sad minutes are moving,
Though loaded with trouble and pain;
and sometimes the loved and the loving,
Shall meet on the mountains again.”