Pea Pod Lullaby, by Glenda Millard & Stephen Michael King

I am the small green pea
you are the tender pod
hold me.

This gently lilting lullaby weaves its way across the pages of the book, with no more than three lines per spread, encouraging the text to be read and digested slowly. The text speaks of love and togetherness, and how people complete each other, in language that could apply as much to a parent and child as to any pairing of friends or partners.

The accompanying illustrations tell the tale of a mother, her two children and a dog, fleeing danger in a little boat, and drifting across the sea. They rescue a polar bear, also adrift, before finally finding land and a welcome. The illustrations, in watercolour with ink outlines, are tenderly whimsical, and slightly older readers will be able to make links to tales of refugees and displacement, as well as issues of global warming, among others, whilst babies and toddlers, and their parents, will be lulled by the gentle hues coupled with the tender words.

Simply beautiful.

Pea Pod Lullaby, by Glenda Millard, illustrated by Stephen Michael King
Allen & Unwin, 2017
ISBN 9781760290085

We All Sleep by Ezekiel Kwaymullina ill Sally Morgan

Against pink skies kookaburra calls

Over swaying reeds frog leaps

Against pink skies kookaburra calls

Over swaying reeds frog leaps

Beginning at sunrise and ending with starlight, a child observes their world. The light changes, the animals appear at their ideal time of day, plants wave in the breeze. On each page is a small companion blue bird and a hint of which animal will feature next. Artwork is colourful, simple and complex, full of pattern and life.

We All Sleep is a particularly Australian lullaby, featuring iconic animals and birds, doing their thing in an Australian landscape, watched by an Australian child. It offers an opportunity to introduce our native fauna and flora, while the rhythm of the language is informative and soothing. An ideal gift to send overseas, and to keep close at home. Recommended for pre- and early schoolers. And art students.

We All Sleep, Ezekiel Kwaymullina ill Sally Morgan
Fremantle Press 2015
ISBN: 9781925162684

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

The ABC Book of Lullabies

Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

The ABC Book of Lullabies is a collection of lullabies, some familiar, some less so. Some contain extra verses that are less well known. But these lullabies have been gathered to showcase the work of some popular Australia’s children’s illustrators. There are thirteen double spreads and each features a lullaby illustrated by a different illustrator. Styles vary from realistic to fantasy, from watercolour to Photoshop. Many depict night-time scenes, but others, like Tamsin Ainslie’s illustration for ‘Lavender’s Blue’ depict an imaginary garden that is part collage. Lullabies like ‘Lavender’s Blue’ show that it’s sometimes less the words that count than the mood of the singer/singing. Emma Quay’s illustrations for ‘The Man in the Moon’ also grace the cover.

Books like The ABC Book of Lullabies are produced for two audiences simultaneously: the child who focuses on the images as the words are read to them and the adult (usually) who is reading. Each will take different things from the reading. An adult may well be interested in the differences between the images and the differing styles of each illustrator. Short bios, including sketches and photos are included in the final pages for those readers. Each illustrator shares a little about what they do and why, and why they’ve chosen the particular lullaby. Children will enjoy this collection whatever time they read or are read to, but it does make a lovely bedtime collection. For adults, The ABC Book of Lullabies is a bit like a sampler, introducing the work of some of Australia’s most talented illustrators. Or perhaps an illustrators’ version of a anthology. Recommended for 3-6 year olds and adults who love illustration.

The ABC Book of Lullabies

The ABC Book of Lullabies, various illustrators
ABC Books 2008
ISBN: 9780733323621

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