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I Wonder, Allison Paterson (author), Nancy Bevington (illus.), Big Sky Publishing, August 2021.


The little wooden boat has been left behind in the sand dunes. Odd things pass it by, tumbling and floating into the ocean – a chip packet, a takeaway cup and a plastic bag.

The little wooden boat wonders and worries…

Is it a forgotten thing? Is it just rubbish now?

Will it ever find a home again?

A powerful and timely tale of the small steps we can take to care for our world.


Instilling a sense of wonder in children enriches their minds, but giving them steps towards turning ‘wonders’ into realities, empowers their actions. I Wonder is a powerful story that both enlightens children’s imaginations and encourages their motivation to make changes for something as real and important as the world we live in.

Allison Paterson, extraordinary author of historical fiction and non-fiction books of war, such as the Australia Remembers series, Anzac Sons and Follow After Me, now brings us this enchanting, timely tale of saving our future – something that young readers can literally take into their own hands. Her whimsically told story of the wonders of an inanimate object brought to life, appeals masterfully to children’s senses and inquiring minds… what would we wonder about if we were a discarded old toy at the beach?

Sea life and marine animals, and odd bits of rubbish, stumble across the forgotten little wooden boat’s path – the pollution clearly affecting the health of the ocean and its surroundings. And the wooden boat wonders; is it rubbish, too? Illustrator Nancy Bevington adds meaning and depth to the narrative with her stunning visual literacy, eliciting further thought and discussion amongst readers. The fluid watercolours in muted primary-colour tones lend beautifully to the earthy environment with the red pops and sequenced vignettes leading the eye on the wooden boat’s physical and emotional journey of deterioration. This metaphor is utilised brilliantly; showing the changes of its peeling paint and torn sails both in text and illustrations. The repetitive use of language carries through, tying the messages of curiosity, of re-cycling, re-using and repurposing unwanted items, and of cleaning up after ourselves and others.

Combining both the beautiful landscape scenery throughout, with a final take-away piece of information about the dangers of plastics to sea animals, and useful ideas for readers to ponder, and wonder, I Wonder is a fulfilling, enriching and encouraging book for all early childhood and primary-aged children.

This imaginative nature book, as a part of Big Sky Publishing’s Caring For Our World initiative, is brimming with life (old and new), care, kindness, resourcefulness, sustainability, and wonder. A refreshing, playful and powerful story that will sweep its readers along on a salient journey of self- and worldly-reflection.

Review by Romi Sharp.

Please follow Allison Paterson at her website: Allison Marlow Paterson – Australian Author – writing stories of our past

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I Wonder is available for purchase through: Big Sky Publishing | Booktopia

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Join us as we sail with Allison Paterson and her precious environmental picture book, I Wonder, across the blogosphere and at the following media sources…

Organised by Books On Tour PR & Marketing. Email: info.booksontour@gmail.com

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