‘Look what I’ve found,’ little Georgie said.
‘It’s a secret message. For us!
It floated down from that tree.’
Three children are playing outside – or rather two are playing and a third is imagining, and wanting to draw others into her imaginative games. It seems there is no room in the playing of the pair for a third. Day after day, Georgie sees possibility in the world she encounters. Day after day, Max and Harriet become consumed by their own games. Only when Georgie decides to pursue the secret messages on her own, do the other two become curious. Now it is time for ‘Incredibilia to begin. Illustrations are created using graphite, coloured and watercolour pencils, and watercolours. Endpapers are of a coloured garden full of shapes that just might be hiding other things. Cover art shows all three children playing, including Georgie dressed in red, inviting attention. The back cover though, shows only Max and Harriet.
Max and Harriet are full of play, and while they don’t actively exclude Georgie, they are moving faster than her and have little time to give her and her ideas. Georgie begins by wanting to bring them to play with her, but when that proves difficult she decides that she will play by herself. This self-sufficiency gains their interest more than her words. All three children are enjoying free play, but Georgie’s is a play of the mind as well as the body.
Incredibilia is a celebration of quiet and contemplative play as well a reminder of the magic of the outdoors. Illustrations carry the wind, and with them, the joy of childhood. Recommended for pre- and early-primary.
Incredibilia, Libby Hathorn ill Gaye Chapman
Little Hare Books 2016 ISBN: 9781760125257
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller