Showing posts with label picture book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label picture book. Show all posts

Friday, 16 November 2018

Little Spiral


Little Spiral by Pat Simmons, illustrated by Patrick Shirvington (Little Steps Publishing) PB RRP $16.95 ISBN 9780648267324

Reviewed by Brook Tayla

Little Spiral is a beautiful poetic journey that explores the life cycle of a snail.

The whole book has an air of mystery and intrigue.  Right from the first page you wonder which little pearl coloured circle could be the actual snail forming on the forest floor.

And then the journey begins that leads us through growth, life and a new generation – a circular narrative.

The text is written simply but meaningfully with words that evoke re-reading and pondering. The ink/watercolour illustrations are a perfect visual match and give depth of meaning to the story.  The edge-to-edge pictures pull readers right into the forest scenario, so that you feel you are actually there and feel an empathy with the snail, ‘Little Spiral’ – what a clever, delightful name!

This is a picture book that will be enjoyed by all ages and returned to often, not only to ponder life but also to check back in with this now familiar and cute little snail.

Brook Tayla writes a picture book review blog at [email protected] and would love you to drop by, read
some reviews, leave a comment, and subscribe.  Brook also offers editing services for beginning and emerging writers.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Achievement



It really pays some time to go to a writing workshop. In 2017, author Tristan Bancks ran ‘Go Nuts!” This is what he instructed his students: “Get yourself a notepad. Write the words 'I remember' at the top of the first page. Set a timer for five or ten minutes. Press start and write down everything you remember happening in your life. Big things, little things, sad things. Write for the whole time without stopping:.

Pat Simmons, a Buzz Worder who attended the workshop and did the above exercise, re-worked it, and submitted it as a picture book. Lo and behold, the manuscript has been accepted for publication and will appear in 2021. Well done, Pat!

Monday, 15 October 2018

Ho! Ho! Ho! There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Christmas Cake


Ho! Ho! Ho! There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Christmas Cake by Hazel Edwards, illustrated by Deborah Niland (Puffin Books) HB RRP $19.99 ISBN 978 0143790679
Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Australian author Hazel Edwards had a best-seller, There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake, in 2005 and since then she has produced various incantations of the book which is targeted at pre-schoolers. Now here’s the latest with the oversized pink hippo complete with a Santa hat getting ready for Christmas.

A curly blonde-haired boy is told by his father that there’s a man fixing roof tiles, but the boy knows the truth – there’s a hippopotamus up there getting ready – as is he – for Christmas. The hippo is making a cake and icing it, then he’s making a list for Santa (just like the boy). Before long the hippo is dancing a cake dance. 

At the same time that the boy and his family are decorating their Christmas tree, the hippo on the roof has a disaster – he accidentally sits on his Christmas tree ‘with his big wobbly bottom'! However, hippo is clever, and fixes it so it looks as good as new. Niland’s full-page, colourful illustration on this page shows a tree resplendent with goodies such as carrots, apples, cherries and cakes (donuts and lamingtons, of course!)

The rest of the book has the boy and the hippo on the roof preparing for the big day (gingerbread, card-making, wrapping gifts, stringing fairy lights) until finally the boy’s family all dress in Santa suits (as does the hippo). On Christmas eve there’s Carols by Candlelight, and of course stockings and food for Santa and his reindeer. When Christmas Day arrives, there is happiness and discovery for everyone.

This is a joyous, even scrumptious book with page after page of bright illustrations that reward the reader with multiple readings. It will especially appeal to any child who is super-excited as he or she anticipates all that Christmas Day will bring, and who is involved with family in preparing for the big day. The text is easy to read with large font and simple sentences. Certainly this is a great book for a small child’s Christmas stocking!



Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Jacaranda Magic


Jacaranda Magic by Dannika Patterson, illustrated by Megan Forward (Ford Street Publishing) HB ISBN:9781925804003   RRP $24.95 PB ISBN: 9781925804010   RRP $16.95

Reviewed by Brook Tayla

The flowers falling from the jacaranda tree sparks the imagination of five bored friends with nothing to do in this newly released picture book.

 The story, written in rhyming verse, weaves its way through a multitude of scenarios that the children imagine as they play on and around the jacaranda which is in full bloom. Childhood freedom and fun is presented, reminding readers of all ages of the simple joys of life that can be created just by using your imagination.

Award winning illustrator, Megan Forward, has portrayed the story in watercolours that give off a day-dreamy feel - inviting readers into the imaginary worlds that the children make up and explore.

This is a great book to read to children to remind them that we have the best time when life is simple, creative, spontaneous and playful – especially when we share those times interacting with family and friends - and often the best times are in the outdoors. It’s also a great book to have on hand if you hear the ‘bored’ word.


Brook Tayla writes a picture book review blog at [email protected] and would love you to drop by, read some reviews, leave a comment and subscribe – you can do that here: https://telltalestome.wordpress.com/contact/ Brook also offers editing services for beginning and emerging writers.





Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Invisible Jerry


Invisible Jerry by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Giusepe Poli (EK Books) PB RRP: $24.99 ISBN: 9781925335781

Reviewed by Anne Helen Donnelly

People didn’t notice Jerry. Nobody waved to him, said sorry if they bumped into him, laughed at his jokes and he was never picked for sport. It was as if he was invisible. Jerry didn’t want to stand out, but he did want someone to notice him.

One day, Molly came along. Molly was interested in Jerry. She was interested in what he thought, she would share things with him, she said sorry if she bumped into him and she laughed at his jokes. Molly made Jerry smile, for the first time in a long time.

As Jerry’s confidence grows, he becomes strong enough to be someone else’s Molly. To notice and care about others who feel invisible. First it was Paul but then there were others. And so, Molly’s acts of kindness and friendship continued to spread.

This is a quiet and gentle story, championing for the shy introverts who, even if not noticed, have a lot to give. It also shows how kindness can spread like a wonderful contagious disease. The soft illustrations suit the story and there is a good use of colour to portray the tone of the story’s undulations. Recommended for ages 4 – 8 years.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Elbow Grease


Elbow Grease by John Cena, illustrated by Howard McWilliam (Puffin Books) HB RRP $19.99 ISBN 9780143794400

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This picture book is ideal for machine-obsessed boys aged 4 to 8 years as its pages are filled with illustrations of highly modified cars and trucks that take part in a demolition derby. Smallest of these vehicles is Elbow Grease who is undeterred by his size and wants to take on his brothers Tank, Flash, Pinball and Crash who are tougher, faster, smarter and braver. What Elbow has in spades is gumption and pure determination. His aim in life is to have his picture displayed on a garage poster as champion in a monster truck grand prix.

The full-page illustrations seem to be computer-generated, making the vehicles and scenery seem life-like with gleaming duco, city lights, and a racing circuit which is quite spectacular as it shows a race in progress. Elbow Grease is taking part in the Grand Prix, but despite being ‘bashed and smashed and eve caught on fire a little bit’, he keeps on trucking. A storm arrives mid-race and poor Elbow is terrified of lightning; he’s cold and tired, too. At the end of the race (and the book), he says (in speech balloons), ‘What do you mean “The End”? … Never Give up! Never quit!... Never say “The End”.’

Lots of fun and action and bright, captivating illustrations, this book is sure to be carried everywhere by small boys wanting their parents to read it again and again.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Jacaranda Magic


Jacaranda Magic by Dannika Patterson, illustrated by Megan Forward (Ford Street Publishing) PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 9781925804010

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Jacaranda Magic is a picture book that delightfully captures the beauty of imaginative play and the enchantment that nature so brilliantly provides.

The tale begins with five young friends sitting under a jacaranda tree pondering what to do. They are stuck for ideas until nature beautifully intervenes. The children’s imaginations are soon ignited when a cool breeze causes the purple bell-shaped blooms to rain upon them. The small flowers transform into a variety of props including genies, butterflies and asteroids. The large tree branches become abodes, vehicles and vessels for their lively outdoor adventures.

Jacaranda Magic is beautifully written in verse and accompanied by gorgeous soft pencil and watercolour illustrations, predominately in double-page spreads. This playful picture book is likely to engage children aged 4-6 years old. It would be equally suitable for the early years’ classroom or read as a bedtime story at home. This tale would sing to the heart of any early childhood educator. Let’s hope that the magic of open-ended imaginative play is never lost.





Tuesday, 2 October 2018

We Are Together


We Are Together by Britta Teckentrup (Caterpillar Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781848576582

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

The first thing one notices about this picture book for children 4 to 6 years is that it has peek-through pages, including on the hard cover where there are ten children of different colours and nationalities: two of them appear in the cover cut-out. As one opens and reads each page, another child appears and then another until all ten children are together again.

This reinforces the book’s theme that ‘on our own, we’re special… But when we join up… together we’re a team.’ In each of the richly illustrated pages, children can be seen outdoors in changing weather – cloudy skies where they fly kites, golden sunset, autumn winds and so forth. On every double-paged spread is a quatrain in rhyme. For instance, one says, ‘We may travel alone/free as birds in the sky, /But flocking together,/we soar and we fly. When there’s a storm, the verses say, the children can splash through puddles ‘till the sun shines again.’ Another page has the lines, ‘If we all sing together, one voice becomes a choir’.

The whole book shows the power of being sociable and becoming part of ‘one big happy crowd!’ which is one supposes, the whole purpose of bringing children (people) together in our society so it will function happily.

There are dozens of children shown – colourful and happy – in the bright fly pages both ends of the book, and on the final page. This would make a marvellous book for pre-school teachers to present to their students, and for parents trying to make their children function happily in the world.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Waiting for Chicken Smith


Waiting for Chicken Smith by David Mackintosh (Little Hare Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN9781760501761

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This story is set on a beach where a child stays in the same cabin every year with his family. Every year, the child’s friend Chicken Smith stays on the beach, too, with his dad and his dog, Jelly. But this year Chicken hasn’t arrived, and this is a worry because there’s lots of usual things to do with him – ride bikes, share milkshakes, walk to the lighthouse with sandwiches and hunt for whales through Chicken’s binoculars.

There’s so much that the narrator and Chicken have shared in the past. But now Chicken’s cabin looks different – the windows are shut; the grass is long, and Chicken’s bike is missing. The boy’s sister urges him to go to the cliff-top with her while he’s waiting, and there, for the first time, the boy sees a whale. Without his holiday friend, the boy and his sister, Mary Ann (named on the last page) get to spend time together, possibly for the first time while on holidays.

The illustrations in this book by Australian author and illustrator, David Mackintosh, are dramatic and wonderful, from pencil drawings to silhouetted shapes (such as a bicycle frame and a lighthouse on a cliff with a red wash and golden moon). Every page rewards the reader with astonishing pictures that immerse one and make one want to be creative, too.

This is a stunning book which evokes so much of the temporary and often intense friendships children make in their lives. It is not usual to have a story about the end of such a holiday friendship, but the author/illustrator celebrates it and shows the reader that sometimes, though friendships end, there are always happy memories. And new experiences to be had. This book is highly recommended for readers 5 to 8 years.



Saturday, 29 September 2018

All the Ways to Be Smart


All the Ways to Be Smart by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys (Scribble) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781925713435 

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

‘Every hour of every day, we’re smart in our own special way’ reads the penultimate page of this rhyming picture book for readers aged 4 to 7 years. The aim of the book is to show the reader ‘how smart you are the whole day through’ which is certainly good for young egos.

Presented in mostly greens, oranges, blues and browns, the book shows children interacting with a host of beings, some other children and some monsters and some people like pirates, witches and clowns.

Numerous children, such as a red-haired boy, a brown girl, a boy wearing glasses and numerous others are shown being smart in numerous ways. These include being talented in arts and crafts: ‘Smart at drawing things with claws/facts about the dinosaurs’, and in treating other people humanely: ‘Smart is kindness when there’s crying’.

Basically, the book is a list of ways in which children can be smart, presented in rhyming couplets. It would read well aloud and allow small children to feel that they are accomplished as they recognise the skills which they already possess.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

My Storee


My Storee by Paul Russell, illustrated by Aska (EK Books) HB RRP ISBN9781925335774

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

To get published, a manuscript must pass the ‘gatekeepers’, those adults who assess the story, often looking for what is ideologically unsound. Should a book with incorrect spelling all through it, pass the test? Apparently, the publisher, EK Books agreed with the words on the cover of this book, ‘Just because you can’t spell doesn’t mean you can’t write’. Some adults however, like this reviewer, believe that the words in a book help a child learn how to spell.

This quibble aside, this is a book which most children aged 5 to 8 years are likely to enjoy because they, like the book’s protagonist, struggle with spelling as they attempt to write stories. The boy in this book is kept awake because he knows ‘a grand adventur (sic) is always (sic) waiting four (sic) me at the end ov (sic) my pencil’. He imagines stories about dragons, his teacher being eaten by a ‘gruesome ogre’, detectives, robot, aliens and more. 

However, at school, he says, there are too many ‘riting (sic) rulz (sic)’ and with all the rules his imagination suffers. Teachers, he says, cover his writing with red pen and change his meanings with the result that at school he doesn’t like to write.’

A new teacher with new teaching methods is the solution to the boy’s problem. The last sentence in the book reads, ‘So I picked up my pencil and wrote.’

The illustrations in My Storee are colourful and joyous, filled with cartoon characters such as live pencils, surfing mice and unicorn detectives, so they are sure to be enjoyed by child readers.


Wednesday, 26 September 2018

There’s a Baddie Running Through this Book


There’s a Baddie Running Through this Book by Shelley Unwin, illustrated by Vivienne To (Allen & Unwin) HB RRP $$19.99 ISBN9781 760630614

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

With a title like this, the young reader can be sure there’s a lot of fun and action in this picture book. And it doesn’t disappoint. You can find the baddie, hidden among dozens of other animals such as hens, bears, tortoises and more in the fly pages before the story starts (spoiler alert, he’s wearing a mask and has a sack full of goodies over his shoulder). On the first page, the illustrator has cleverly shown the baddie running into a black space of a torn page, leaving behind a trail of lollies. As you turn the pages, the baddie is racing along, leaving a flurry of upset characters, such as the koala baby in a pram. Next, he catches the eye of a police officer.

In short rhyming lines, the author continues the baddie’s adventure. There’s ‘no time to waste/This baddie knows he’s being chased!’ On foot or in vehicles, the baddie continues to evade capture and to steal as he proceeds. To find out the baddie’s fate, one must follow him through the pages of the book until the end.

This book – ideal for reading aloud – is action-packed and fast-paced with lots of energy accompanying the animated and interesting illustrations. Lots of good fun and sure to amuse and entertain readers aged 4 to 8 years.


Sunday, 23 September 2018

All the Ways to Be Smart


All the Ways to Be Smart by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys (Scribble) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781925713435

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

‘Every hour of every day, we’re smart in our own special way’ reads the penultimate page of this rhyming picture book for readers aged 4 to 7 years. Presented in mostly greens, oranges, blues and browns, the book shows children interacting with a host of beings, some other children and some monsters and some people like pirates, witches and clowns.

The aim of the book is to show the reader ‘how smart you are the whole day through’. Numerous children, such as a red-haired boy, a brown girl, a boy wearing glasses and numerous others are shown being smart in numerous ways. These include being talented in arts and crafts: ‘Smart at drawing things with claws/facts about the dinosaurs’, and in treating other people humanely: ‘Smart is kindness when there’s crying’.

Basically, the book is a list of ways in which children can be smart, presented in rhyming couplets. It would read well aloud and allow small children to feel that they are accomplished as they recognise the skills which they already possess.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

The Forever Kid


The Forever Kid by Elizabeth Mary Cummings, illustrated by Cheri Hughes (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP $14.99 HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 781925 675382

Reviewed by Nikki M Heath

Grief is a challenging topic for children’s books, especially for the very young. This gentle, warm picture book features a family learning to move on after the loss of the eldest child to illness. The story follows the narrator – a young boy – his two sisters, parents and family dog as they celebrate the birthday of Johnny, their “forever kid”, the brother who is no longer with them. They remember what they shared with him, individually and together, and look at their cherished mementos. They allow themselves both sadness and joy as they grieve and celebrate.

Cummings, who has qualifications in psychology and education, weaves comforting imagery and sensory language with a poignant tone, gradually building towards a realisation of what has happened to Johnny and the family. The fact that his death is never explicitly referenced allows for adults to guide the discussion with younger readers in whatever way they feel is appropriate.

There is also an insightful moment of tension introduced when the narrator confesses his feelings of jealousy about the attention and latitude Johnny received while he was alive, and his guilt in hindsight. I imagine that the book’s acknowledgment of these feelings will give much-needed reassurance to children who have found themselves in a similar position.

The illustrations, by experienced artist Hughes, are perfect for this story. The images of the family are bright and lively, full of expression and colour. The background is rendered in a soft, pastel tie-dye effect, with suggestions of the “cloud stories” the family shared with Johnny, even once he was too ill to do anything else.

This book will be treasured by children who have lost siblings and valued by parents and educators looking for resources dealing with death, whether of a sibling or other loved one. While the publisher nominates an age range of 4 to 8 years, the sensitive yet layered approach should give it broader appeal.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Oskar Saves the World


Oskar Saves the World written by Jane Williams, illustrated by Lisa Morgan (Ginninderra Press) PB RRP $17.50  ISBN 9781760415921

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Oskar’s world consists of two things – creating inventions and things that get in the way of his inventions. Those things are his parents and little sister Daisy. For example, Dad wants Oskar to wash his breakfast bowl, but Oskar says it’s his ‘beyond breakfast bacterial experiment’. To steer their son away from inventing, his parents decide to buy him a pet.

The pet is a monster which Oskar names Fop. ‘It’ll eat you out of house and home,’ warns the pet shop owner. Problem is that Oskar is more concerned with inventing than in caring for his pet – which is why Mum, Dad, Daisy and the postie disappear. All is resolved, however, with the aid of Oskar’s latest invention, an exercise machine.

This is a simple story with an easily solved (and very unlikely) resolution but it’s sure to be enjoyed by readers aged 5 to 8 years. The illustrations show cartoon-like characters surrounded by lots of white space with occasional speech and thought balloons.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

The Forever Kid


The Forever Kid by Elizabeth Mary Cummings, illustrated by Cheri Hughes (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP $14.99 HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 781925 675382

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

For someone to become ‘forever’, they must remain in people’s memories. This is the case of Johnny, the subject of this picture book for readers aged 4 to 8 years. Johnny is a member of a loving family but sadly he is deceased. When this story starts, it’s Johnny’s birthday and of course he’s no longer around to enjoy it. However, his family celebrates him by continuing his favourite party traditions.

Mum, Dad, sister Pat, little Miley and Barker the dog join with the unnamed narrator to do all those things Johnny enjoyed. This includes playing with cheesy-puffs and playing ‘cloud stories’, lying in the backyard and making up stories about clouds as they once did with Johnny.

Assembled together on this sad and special day, the family recall their times with Johnny such as watching movies, building boat models, eating Mum’s chocolate-chip cookies, computer time and cuddling (especially little Miley).

The book is dedicated by the author to ‘John-Aloysius and all Forever Kids’, so it’s obvious that writing it was a labour of love. Cummings has qualifications in psychology and is a sought-after speaker about child well-being. This book is gently told and is sure to be embraced by families who have lost a loved one.

Monday, 27 August 2018

At the End of Holyrood Lane


At the End of Holyrood Lane by Dimity Powell and Nicky Johnston (EK Books) PB RRP $24.99 ISBN: 9781925335767

Reviewed by Anne Helen Donnelly

Flick is like any other little child. She likes dancing with butterflies, tumbling through leaves and basking in the sunshine. But, she never knows when it will storm at her house. These storms smother the sunshine and ransack the fun. And when these storms are very loud, they make her ears hurt and her head throb. They make her feel smaller than she really is.

So, Flick has learnt to hide away from the storms. She has found really great places to hide and she can hide for a long time. But one day a monstrous storm strikes. It is darker and louder than ever before. She tries to ignore it, but it leaves her sodden and shaken and brings her to finally act. She seeks help. And it works. The storm leaves and the sun comes out, and it never storms again.

This is a sensitive book with a message of hope, bringing to the fore a child’s perspective of domestic violence and how it makes the child feel. This book should strike a chord with any child who has experienced any domestic violence and will afford a glimpse of such a situation of anyone who hasn’t. The uplifting ending will give hope to readers that help is at hand and send the message that regardless of how young you are, you can change things.

At the End of Holyrood Lane is a children’s picture book for children ages 6 and up. It is beautifully illustrated with gentle pictures that convey the varied emotions of this story. It has been endorsed by organisations including Act for Kids, Paradise Kids and Think Equal.




Sunday, 19 August 2018

Lily's Balloon


Lily's Balloon by Katrina Roe and illustrated by Helene Magisson
(Wombat Books) https://www.wombatbooks.com.au/index.php/lily-s-balloon HB RRP $20.00 ISBN: 978-1925563399

Reviewed by Lucinda Gifford

"When Lily finds a beautiful, big, shiny balloon she wants to keep it forever. But what if somebody else needs it more?"

This is a gentle, philosophical book which guides us towards looking beyond ourselves to see the bigger picture. Lily loses her balloon, but her spirits soar as she watches it drift out towards the clouds, 'dancing on the wind'.  The balloon's journey raises the spirits of two other children, each unaware of the balloon's overall 'story', of who it will encounter and what its future will be.

This is a perfect book for talking about how we are all connected, the deeper meaning of objects, and how our actions, and our journey, affect others.

Talented illustrator Helene Magisson has created wonderful illustrations, which are gentle, atmospheric and well suited to the story. The spreads are lovely: varied and elegantly paced.

Lily’s Balloon won the pitching competition at the CYA Festival in 2014. Perhaps the story itself drifted a little while, until it found a home with Wombat Books. It will be interesting to see where Lily's balloon' goes next!


Saturday, 18 August 2018

Ziggy’s Zoo

Ziggy’s Zoo by Pat Simmons illustrated by Vicky Pratt (Little Pink Dog Books) HB RRP $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-9946269-05 https://littlepinkdogbooks.com/2018-book-list/zoes-zoo/

Reviewed by Lucinda Gifford

"Ziggy's creating her very own zoo. She wants to find ten exhibits. What will they be?"

This is a clever, simple and fun book idea suitable for readers aged 4 to 7 years. In Ziggy's Zoo, young Ziggy creates her own zoo from the creatures she finds in the garden – as well as from some of her favourite toys and people.

Written in rhyme, the text is poetic, rhythmic and enjoyable. I really liked the way that Ziggy forages in the garden, handles the scuttling bugs and oozy slugs with confidence and creates her own zoo map. She's a great role model!

Ziggy's Zoo is an excellent book for inspiring children to get out into the garden or to explore the park and will be a useful tool in kinder and early primary school as part of a nature activity. The illustrations, by Vicky Pratt, are particularly accomplished when it comes to bugs and nature. Pratt's joyful colours, detailed bugs and flowers, and strong sense of rhythm and pattern really bring the garden to life. I do hope to see Pratt's illustrations in an insect or nature anthology soon!

Friday, 10 August 2018

At the End of Holyrood Lane


At the End of Holyrood Lane by Dimity Fletcher & Nicky Johnston (EK Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN9781925335767

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This picture book tells of Flick, a small girl who loves to chase butterflies and jump in heaps of leaves, but who is terrified of storms. The first storm which arrives is shown in an illustration of Flick indoors looking to outside where ‘angry clouds muscle in and wild winds bully the curtains.’ Doubtless any child reader with a fear of storms would take the visual and written text as depicted on surface value.

However, the information sheet which accompanies the review copy says, ‘(the book) provides a sensitive glimpse into one aspect of domestic violence and how it can affect young lives’. Yes, Flick is shown hiding indoors day and night ‘in places where the thunder cannot reach her’. But until there’s an illustration – just one – which shows the silhouetted profile of a person in a storm cloud, there’s no real indication that the storm Flick is reacting to, could possibly be caused by an adult.

Flick flees outdoors where a black storm ‘seethes and snarls… drenching her in its fury’. There she does something she’s never done before – she seeks help. Once again, outdoors in an angry storm, she is embraced by a woman with an umbrella. Her confession works, the story tells, and ‘the sun comes out’.

This book is visually arresting and the words well written. And it’s one of the most difficult things in a book for young children to depict domestic violence. But one must question whether a child would see the duality of meaning in this picture book given its text. And, too, finding a solution to domestic violence is never easy for anyone – adult or child. Just telling an adult is not as easy as it seems. And too, in this book the simple act of telling immediately solves the problem.

Doubtless the book creators and the publisher mean well. They have tried valiantly to highlight and remedy a malaise which is too common in our society. Certainly, the book shows a child’s anxiety and fear of a storm. And at the end of the story when the storm has gone, we see the little girl still anxious that the storm might return.

The only way to see if this book can be understood by small readers is the test of time. A caring adult reading it to a child could use At the End of Holyrood Lane to prise out the underlying meaning through probing questions and sensitive disclosure of the book’s message.