In a place where mud and sand become sea…
a godwit with white wing patches
flies up with his flock.
The moment is right
for the long journey north.
A godwit leaves a sandy shore, knowing its is time to journey north. Joining his flock, it flies day and night until he knows it is time to stop for food and rest. Later, replenished, the godwit continues his journey until the flock reach their northern home and he goes alone to his remembered place. Attracting a mate, the pair breed and produce chicks. Eventually, though he knows it is time to rejoin the flock, feed and begin the long flight south to return to the beach he started from.
Circle is a beautiful picture book exploring through text and amazing art the migration of the godwits, through the perspective of a single bird. Readers are given a wonderful insight into the challenges faced on the long journey, as well as through the breeding season. The story is also bookended by hints of the story of a boy who witnesses the departure and return of the bird. AT he front of the book, preceding the title page,w e see the boy bedbound, wishing he could fly. In the opening spreads he watches the birds from a wheelchair,pushed to the edge of the beach. In the closing scene, as the godwits return, he is again on the beach, with the aid of a pair of crutches which are discarded as he tries to stop his dog chasing the birds.
With the amazing collage artwork for which Baker is known and loves, gentle text and so much detail to explore and discuss, Circle will delight young readers, teachers and adult readers.
Circle, by Jeannie Baker
Walker Books, 2016
He has big fins,
and he’s blue.
Maybe he’s outside.
It’s time for Alfie to get ready for bed, but he can’t find Sharkie. He’s not outside, he’s not in the bath, he’s not in the pyjama drawer or on the bookshelf. Dad tries to be patient, and eventually manages to convince Alfie to choose another toy (in fact, many other toys) but when he gets to bed, Alfie is delighted to find his toy Sharkie.
Alfie’s Lost Sharkie is the second title featuring Alfie, an anthropomorphised crocodile. And, just like the first, Hurry Up, Alfie, there is much to love.
The text is very simple – with no narration, meaning that the whole story is told by the dialogue between Alfie and his Dad (or is it Mum – this is wonderfully ambiguous, which I like) and, of course, by the illustrations, which use ink and collage and are filled with whimsy.
Perfect for bed time reading – or any time of day really.
Alfie’s Lost Sharkie, by Anna Walker
Available from good bookstores and online.
Claire and her family have moved overseas, to a city where everything seems terribly different to her home in Australia. Claire worries about lots of things – the language, the traffic, the food – but most of all she wonders how she will make new friends. Maybe, her mother suggests, the friends will find her.
Claire had said goodbye to all her favourite people
and flown a long way from home.
Everything was different, the smells, the sky, the sounds.
Everything seemed difficult.
Claire and her family have moved overseas, to a city where everything seems terribly different to her home in Australia. Claire worries about lots of things – the language, the traffic, the food – but most of all she wonders how she will make new friends. Maybe, her mother suggests, the friends will find her. And that is exactly what happens. Claire is waved to by a little girl on the back of a bike, and smiled at by a boy in a restaurant. When she meets the girl again in the markets, she knows she has a new friend. But it is when Claire finds herself lost on a walk that her new friend, Kieu, actually finds her, and shows her the way home.
The Red Bridge is a sumptuous picture book about friendship and about change. Claire moves across the world, but the fears she feels are just as real for children going through any move, or even other changes in their lives. How will I make friends? How will I know how to do things? How will I get around? Claire is guided by her mother, who doesn’t express her own fears at the same changes, yet perhaps best shows them in her triumphant cheer when they manage to get across a busy road together. But Mum also has the courage to let Claire explore her new neighbourhood after they’ve become familiar, a nice touch which is perhaps a gentle reminder for nervous parents to let go.
Illustrated in generously rich reds, browns and golden tones using Dunstan’s delightful mixed media collage, The Red Bridge is a beautiful offering suitable for early childhood readers.
The Red Bridge, by Kylie Dunstan
Windy Hollow Books, 2011
This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.