Two newly released picture books are challenging the perception that picture books are just for preschoolers. Both books will appeal to older children and would be useful in the school setting.
In Kaffy Meets the Doomie, by Brendan Doyle (Banana Books), a dog named Kaffy explores an abandoned brickworks, where he meets an old man who once worked in the brickworks. The man speaks to Kaffy of his loneliness and loss of purpose. The magical events which follow, lead to Kaffy helping to get the brickworks reopened in a different guise, and the Doomie to find a sense of purpose.
Told in a simple rhyming structure and complemented by simple sketches and colour illustrations by Harold Tiefel, the story combines a sense of history with a feeling of fantasy and fun. This would be an excellent book for exploring subjects of aging, redundancy, and valuing our past.
From Fremantle Arts Centre Press comes In Flanders Fields by Norman Jorgensen, another book with a historical focus. This story provides a compelling counterpoint to images often seen of war, depicting its senselessness and inhumanity. The book tells the story of a homesick soldier who , in the temporary ceasefire which comes with Christmas day, spies a robin caught on some wire in no man’s land. One wing flaps helplessly as the robin tries to escape.
Rather than enjoy the lull in fighting and remain in safety, the soldier risks walking towards German trenches to rescue the robin, which would die without help. Soldiers from both sides watch in disbelief as he risks his own life to save that of the robin.
The story is presented in picture book format, with beautiful illustrations from Brian-Harrison-Lever, perfectly complementing the text . Again, this book would be an excellent classroom tool, especially when dealing with topics relating to war.
Kaffy Meets the Doomie, by Brendan Doyle, Illustrated by Harold Tiefel
Banana Books, 2002.
In Flanders Fields, by Norman Jorgensen, illustrated by Brian Harrison-Lever
Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2002.