Out of the silence, Snow Leopard sang the stars to life

A few weeks ago Moontrug told bestselling author, SF Said (think Phoenix and Varjak Paw), that her favourite animal was a wildcat with attitude. And if there weren’t too many of those kicking around (after all, they’re the most secretive animals out there), she’d settle for a snow leopard (not that they’re any easier to find…). So SF Said introduced Moontrug to a WONDERFULLY talented author and illustrator called Jackie Morris. And the subject matter of one of Morris’ brilliant picture books? Snow Leopards. Check this out for a cover…


‘From the beginning of time, out of the silence, Snow Leopard sang the stars to life, the sun to rise and the moon to wax and wane.’ And so Morris’ book begins. It is the story of a secretive Snow Leopard who, ‘cloaked in her shadow-dappled fur’ sings to protect the Mergich Realm. But over the years danger creeps in and Snow Leopard must look to another to help her weave the spell of protection and secrecy. Sleeping soundly in the heart of the mountains is a child, and it is she who must learn to ‘still her mind and become one with the place… to ride on the thermals with eagle and falcon, to watch for the moon bear, bharal and wolf.’


In a world where we move at 100mph through almost everything we do (this morning I was moving so fast I tripped over my own feet and face-planted into a cardboard box), The Snow Leopard draws us away to a half-forgotten world of peace and silence. A world where magic is stirring inside a ‘crackling fortress of snow’ above a Child who listens to a ghost cat’s song. Moontrug completely fell in love with this book; reading the words was like watching snow fall – a sort of silent beauty laced with magic.

Jackie Morris - Snow Leopard

As the Child began to learn the Snow Leopard’s ways, Moontrug was reminded of some of the best animal-child relationships in children’s stories – of Lyra Silvertongue and Iorek Byrnison in Northern Lights, of Lucy Pevensie and Aslan in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Morris’ child and snow leopard are up there. She makes you believe in the bond so that you feel like a little part of you, where the stillness and the wonder rests, might be snow leopard, too.


From start to finish there was a sort of hypnotic magic spilling out of the pages;¬†Moontrug was lost in the ice-covered mountains and the Snow Leopard’s song. And when the ending came, Moontrug spent a few moments just sitting, thinking, dreaming – and then she went right out and bought three more Jackie Morris books (I am Cat, The Seal Children, East of the Sun, West of the Moon) – because that kind of magic doesn’t come around often, so when you find it, you’ve got to hold on to it tight…


PS: Henrietta Poppy, this one’s for you x