With gratitude we accept these beautiful titles from Little Pink Dog Books to feature on the blog; showcasing enormous talents in the authors and illustrators that created them. One thing is certain – they are all sumptuously heart-warming stories, and a little fun, adventure and possibility don’t go astray either. Four latest picture books to get lost in…
Where’s Lucky? is a playfully written account of a rascally swamp wallaby and the other joey rescues, carefully hand-reared by Theresa and Tony at Our Haven Wildlife Shelter in Victoria. Author Jacqui Halpin and illustrator Sandra Severgnini combine to blend cheerful text and pictures that match the bouncy and spirited nature of their star, Lucky. Amongst the life-like, bright and colourful drawings and truth behind the words, this book captures an effervescent verve, energy and movement that sees Lucky causing havoc in the kitchen, hiding in the laundry basket or sleeping in the chook pen when he’s meant to be united with the mob. Hence the title and fun, repetitive phrase, ‘Where’s Lucky?’ The story brings an important awareness of the tireless work required to raise orphaned joeys, from keeping them warm, fed and washed, with space to grow and develop as healthy wallabies. Much emotion abounds throughout, from amusement and joy, awe and a bittersweet sadness when it’s time for them to leave. Parents and caregivers reading Where’s Lucky? to young children also have the opportunity for discussions around wildlife safety and care with the inclusion of valuable tips at the end of the book. With a percentage of royalties donated to the Wildlife Shelter, Where’s Lucky? is an important Australian treasure to preserve. A delightfully charming and cheeky book full of bountiful surprises for children from age three.
To add to the metaphorical beauty flying from the pages of this book, I can undoubtedly admit to the flutter felt in my heart upon reading Window of Hope. A view from a window that represents silence and loneliness to the wings of a bird that represent hope and triumph. Something special, something magical happens in this story, and it’s much more than the joy of its happy ending. It never ceases to amaze how much emotion Robert Vescio brings to his stories, and each time he has stolen another piece of my heart. The journey of the protagonist, Max, is exceptional, despite her initial insurmountable sense of despair and angst. Reflected in her thoughts are the one-legged trees outside her window; yearning for change, for growth and for life as the seasons pass by. ‘It felt safe and comfortable… It felt right.’ But this ‘view’ is only Max’s perception of the world. Until a little bird visitor, with one leg, brings possibility and potential, music and a new outlook on the world that she couldn’t see before. Haughton brings an exquisite light that touches the soul through her paintings, especially the pool of emotion reflected in Max’s eyes. The scarceness of joy evident in the lacklustre room is offset by Max’s rousing red hair and small touches, like hanging origami cranes, that provide readers that sense of optimism so vital to the character’s internal journey. Window of Hope poignantly casts promise and a valuable perception that disability is only a state of mind. Just stunning – literally, visually, emotionally.
Six Sleepy Mice, Heidi Cooper Smith (author, illus.), August 2019
It literally does not get any sweeter than Six Sleepy Mice and their house-rummaging antics! In frisky rhyming couplets that make your heart race, readers are invited to chase these six cheeky white mice from the pantry to the laundry hamper, through the wash, amongst the pile of teddies and out the back door. Heidi Cooper Smith deliciously tantalises our senses with her combination of enticing language and realistic quality illustrations that you can almost taste; entwined with lush texture, depth and energy that drag us into the action. Engaging and relevant ‘mousey-type’ verbs, like ‘twitch’, ’scamper’, ‘leaping’ and ‘wriggle’ are cleverly tossed in for preschool-aged readers to add to their vocabulary. Despite the mess and their unwanted presence, there is hope for these intruders with its humane message of gentle evacuation. Six Sleepy Mice is an absolute flurry of fun sweeping across the pages from start to finish.
So much magic awaiting inside The Christmas Garden. Told from the perspective of a grandfather, the narrator reveals all the secrets hidden within his neighbour, a fellow called Dawes’ garden. Plush rhyme by Caroline Tuohey pulls the reader in to this world of breathtaking pine trees surrounding the Christmas-themed adventures of angels, elves, reindeer and a sleigh. Once disguised as still garden ornaments, only to come to life on Christmas Eve ‘when darkness has fallen and shadows are deep’. Of course, Santa Claus (or Dawes) makes his appearance and delights children all over the world with what he does best. Illustrations by Sandra Severgnini charmingly delight with their transcending magnificence of wonder lighting up the pages in sparkles and colour against their backdrops. The amount of detail in this wood-trimmed, nature scene gives a wealthy visual display for young children to pore over. The Christmas Garden is brimming with imagination, joy, adventure and magic, adding another special touch of excitement to young children around Christmas time.
Reviews by Romi Sharp.