Look Back!

Trish Cooke
Illustrations by Caroline Binch
ISBN: 978095711872
2013, Paperback, £6.99
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Look Back! is a children’s picture book written by the great team of Trish Cooke (words) and Caroline Binch (illustrations), both of whom are distinguished contributors to children’s literature. A magical tale set in the Caribbean and a wonderful evocation of the oral story-telling traditions of the region, it celebrates the relationship between a grandmother (from Dominica) and her grandson as she tells him about her childhood adventures in the rainforest and her encounters with the mysterious Ti Bolom. The rhythms and repetitive patterns of Caribbean language are a rich component of the story – as is typical of Trish’s work – and the illustrations have that marvellous realism that is a hallmark of Caroline’s many successful books.


Look Back! by Trish Cooke and Caroline Binch (Papillote Press £6.99) even has the confidence to remind children (and parents) that fear is an inevitable part of life. This is a beautiful book with painstaking, lifelike illustrations that pull you into the story from the start. Cooke tells a West Indian grandmother’s tale about a predator no one has ever clapped eyes on – Ti Bolom. We meet the grandmother as a little girl with furrowed brow and braided hair, standing in a tropical wilderness and turning to look back at… nothing. Sometimes that is the nature of fear: the predator you never see but continue to believe exists. And I love the way the exploration collides here with a celebration of the rapport between a grandmother and her grandson: family, at its best, the ultimate tonic.

— Kate Kellaway, The Observer

Atmospheric illustrations… A very special story about the power of the imagination.

— Parents in Touch

You feel as though you were there. And you could be. Maybe.


This small independent publisher has taken on a big book – one that is magical and one that celebrates other cultures, in this instance the Caribbean culture. In the story the reader is treated to a tale of magic adventure in the rainforest but is not quite sure whether the story is all in a grandmother’s imagination or a true adventure. Does it really matter? Probably not for the adventure takes us on a glorious journey through brightly coloured foresty jungle and into the heart of storytelling.

— Louise Ellis-Barrett, Armadillo Magazine

I doubt there’s a single KS1 or Nursery class that has not enjoyed So Much [by Trish Cooke] so it is a great pleasure to recommend another title by the same award-winning author. I would hazard a guess that Look Back! will be just as popular with a slightly older readership at KS1 and early KS2…Let’s not forget the illustrations, which complement the telling perfectly – and we would expect nothing less from the same hand that brought us Amazing Grace.

— Angela Redfern, The School Librarian

The relationship between Grannie and Christopher is beautifully portrayed by author and illustrator. It is a lovely book for sharing and reading aloud, with sound effects and repetition for teller and listener to enjoy.

— Sue Mansfield, The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY)

It is good to see something by Trish Cooke and it is good to see something by Caroline Binch and doubly good to see them working together in this story drawn from a Dominican folk tale…The mystery and implied danger in Cooke’s story is nicely held in check by the realism of Binch’s richly detailed portraiture: and Binch’s affectionate rendering of the relationship between both Granny and Christopher and granny as a girl and the old woman, Ma Constance, to whom she takes food, implies a beneficent universe in which even the slightly scary Ti Bolom can be a friend.

— Clive Barnes, Books for Keeps

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