Once there was a boy who had to leave home…and find another.
In his bag he carried a book, a bottle and a blanket.
In his teacup he carried some earth from where he used to play.
Teacup is the story of a displaced boy who travels in search of a new home. His teacup yields a surprise – a tree that grows as he lives upon the sea. Eventually he finds an island, where he sets up home and waits for company to arrive.
From the first page the stunning images of rolling clouds, roiling seas, massive whales and more draw the eye away from the text which, printed in white, almost disappears into the page – echoing the very understated nature of the narrative. The story is slightly whimsical – with the idea of a tree growing in a teacup, and the absence of any adults or explanation for the boy’s need to find a new home – which enriches rather than diminishing the parallels with the plight of refugees who take to the seas looking for better lives. There is plenty of room to discuss both what is happening in the story and these parallels.
The combination of Rebecca Young’s gentle text with Matt Ottley’s incredible artwork makes for a breathtaking whole.
Teacup, by Rebecca Young and Matt Ottley
Available from good bookstores or online.
It’s amazing how many buttons you can find when you’re looking.
Banjo loves collecting buttons. While the other children are playing chase, or swapping stories, or laughing, Banjo is looking for buttons. Each day he takes his finds home to Grandma Woolly, who sews the buttons onto Banjo’s jumper, until there is hardly any room left for more.
Then, one morning, as Banjo plays in the park, he meets a little girl sobbing because she is missing a special button. Banjo hands the button back. The next day he meets an old man missing a button from his coat sleeve. Banjo hands this one back, too. Soon, he has no buttons no his jumper – but there are lots of happy people around him. At home, Grandma Woolly has a surprise – a nice new jumper. And the next day he discovers that collecting friends is as easy as collecting buttons was!
Button Boy is a delightful picture book with plenty of whimsy as well as a lovely message about friendship. The text is simple, with pieces of repetition with which young readers will enjoy joining in, and the illustrations also appear simple, though this is a clever deception, with plenty of little details for readers to discover. Illustrator Sue de Gennaro has used acrylics and coloured pencils with blues and greens predominant as well as details in black lines and grey shading, for an overall whimsical effect.
A gorgeous picture book.
Button Boy, by Rebecca Young & Sue deGennaro
Scholastic Press, 2011
This book can be purchased in good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.