Yokki and the Parno Gry
Author: Richard O’Neill and Katharine Quarmby
Illustrator: Marieke Nelissen
Publisher: Child’s Play International
Ages 4 to 7
Yokki is a gifted storyteller in a community that values oral tradition, and he weaves his tales while the family sits around a fire every night.
Yokki and his Romani Traveller family live in tents, and move around a lot. They sell their crafts, wisdom, and services as well as perform odd jobs to take them through the slow seasons. Yokki is a gifted storyteller in a community that values oral tradition, and he weaves his tales while the family sits around a fire every night.
A particularly wet year, when times are hard for all, hits the family hard. No one buys their wares, they cannot get good prices for their livestock, and the family can not find the odd jobs they rely on to take them through the winter. It is young Yokki’s stories, especially one about Parno Gry, a mythical flying white horse, that entertains the family and allows them to lose themselves in thoughts other than their hunger and misfortune.
The ending is just as mythical and magical as the Parno Gry that shows up one night and whisks the family off to fertile lands where the family can prosper.
The writing is simple, but poignant. The illustrations have a folksy charm highlighting the clothes and culture of an oft misunderstood group of people.
Sometimes, dear ones, all we have are our dreams . . . . They keep us going till our next opportunity appears.
This book is a beautiful reminder that children have a lot to contribute to society. That dreams, especially the dreams of children, are magical and have the power to transport us beyond our current situations. Something I try and remember as I listen to the tales my own children weave all day in quarantine!
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My thanks to Child’s Play International for providing a Review Copy of this book. The views expressed herein are my own.
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