If you are a parent, teacher or librarian with a love of children’s books, chances are that you are well familiar with the illustrative brilliance of Ron Brooks. As the illustrator of some of Australia’s (and the world’s) best loved picture books, including John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat , Old Pig and Fox , Brooks has captured the hearts of readers for 40 years. In Drawn from the Heart, however, Brooks shares far more than his illustration work with readers.
Reading this memoir is an intense experience. On the face of it, this is a book which traces Brooks’ life through childhood, study, marriage and raising a family, whilst also detailing the process of illustrating his various works. However, it quickly becomes clear to the reader that this is much more. This is a story into which the reader is drawn. Brooks is honest and intimate, creating a sense that he is telling the tale just over a cup of tea across a well-worn kitchen table. The reader is invited to cheer, to smile, to weep and mourn with Brooks. This is definitely not a dry-eye book.
There is lots of factual information imparted – the detail of the creation and publication process of each of Brooks’ picture books is fascinating – but at the same time you are left a real sense of Ron Brooks as a person of great intensity.
A must read for anyone with a passion for children’s books and illustration, this is also simply a wonderful read for any human being.
Drawn from the Heart: A Memoir, by Ron Brooks
Allen & Unwin, 2010
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