To the Island

To the Island

By Author / Illustrator

Patricia Forde, Nicola Bernardelli


Myths & Legends

Age range(s)



Little Island








Fia looks out her window and across the bay. She longs to see the mysterious island, which appears and disappears in the water.  One night a moonbeam reaches across the bay and leads her to the island. She walks with magical creatures, dances with a host of girls and boys, and visits the bottom of the sea and the stars in space.

Lyrical text with gorgeous colour illustrations, from a multi-award-winning Irish author. Based on the mythical Irish island of Hy Brasil, which lies off the west coast of Galway.



Young Fia longs and hopes to see the magical island, Hy Brasil! An island that only appears once every seven years. One night, Fia is drawn by curiosity and the magical air out across the sea. In front of her, rising from the waves, appears the mystical island. Fia's adventure on the island takes her to magical creatures, to the sea bed and up to the night sky. From high above, she can see her hometown and all its landmarks. As her adventure draws to an end, she looks one last time at Hy Brasil! and the other islands before it slowly slips back beneath the sea.

To the Island is a lovely, simple to follow story, perfect for developing the imagination of young children. The text is supported by attractive, eye-catching illustrations that add to the awe and wonder of the text. A yellow pattern, suggestive of magic, flows behind Fia as her adventure develops from start to finish.

This is a perfect book for EYFS and KS1 with many cross-curricular opportunities. It lends itself perfectly to Geography; physical land features, maps, continents and oceans, land formations e.g. volcanoes. The potential and opportunities for writing are endless; descriptive scenery, diary writing, adventure and journey narratives, messages in bottles, drama. The text also models the use of adjectives, similes and suffixes +ed +ing.

This is a valuable book to both engage and support teaching and learning, and also to widen children's reading experiences, comprehension and inference.

Picture book / Reviewed by Maria Faithorn, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 5+


Beautiful, ethereal, magical. This original picture book captures the imagination of all who read it; it genuinely feels you are holding something magical in your hands.

To the Island is a beautiful story that is inspired from the Irish legend of Hy Brasil, an island said to appear just once every seven years, the next appearance being 2020. Fia is a little red headed Irish girl who is desperate to see and visit Hy Brasil. She watches and waits every night to see the legendary island appear. Then one night Fia creeps out into the night, when the moon is high and 'she feels the pull of magic in the air'. The images begin to change with magical creatures appearing as Fia makes her way 'hopping from star to star' to the island of Hy Brasil.

As you turn the page to discover Hy Brasil, it is simply breathtaking; natural, untouched by man, a glorious island of greenery and magical creatures. Fia is transformed into an ethereal creature herself, but as she is dancing in the night sky, she looks down and sees her home below her. Fia knows she must return home and leave Hy Brasil and all its magic for another 7 years.

A beautiful story that speaks of man's pull towards nature, away from civilisation and the return to a natural, original earth full of magic and wonder. This book speaks of Ireland's love of their country, a country steeped in myth and legend, and is a huge credit to Galway; I love the fact that every child starting Primary school in Galway has received a free copy of this book.

The illustrations are so beautifully captured; it is easy to see why this book has already become so popular. Every page is incredibly detailed, every time I read this book I find something I didn't see before. The colour pallet and magical images reflect the wonder and dreamlike feel of this book and I immediately fell in love with it, from the front cover alone. My daughter (5) absolutely loves this book as it really engages her imagination, she loves pointing out all the magical creates on the island and particularly loves the transformation of Fia as she visits and returns from the island, leaving behind her a trail of magic from her hair.

This book feels both old and new, it feels you are holding something wonderfully antique like you have stumbled into a little antique bookshop and discovered the most incredible story. I cannot recommend this book enough; you simply will not understand the magic until you hold it in your hands.

Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Joanna Hewish, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 5+


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