When Pig got lost, Goat found the way.
When Goat felt giddy, Pig told a story.
‘We will stick together,’ said Goat.
Pig and Goat live together in the orchard, doing everything together. They are happy and pledge to be together, always. But one night the orchard gate swings open and Goat wants to go and explore. Pig isn’t so sure, but follows for a while. When he decides he wants to go home, Goat doesn’t want to come. As they spend months apart, the pair each remembers their absent friend. When Goat can’t sleep, he hums just like Pig used to do, and when Pig gets lost, he finds the way like Goat used to. Finally, though, Goat comes home and there is joyful reunion, after which they live together again, except for occasional separations, during which they still think of each other.
Together Always is a wonderful exploration of friendship and the way it survives absence and separation. It is also a reminder that friends can be different and have separate interests, and still be close to each other. Of course, it is also simply a moving, fun story with a touch of whimsy.
The illustrations, in watercolour with pencil outlines on lovely cream pages, use rich pastel colours and quirky details but, of course, it is Pig and Goat themselves who are the most delightful.
A beautiful tribute to friendship.
Together Always, by Edwina Wyatt & Lucia Masciullo
Little Hare, 2016
slippery duck pasta for her brother’s headmaster,
spit-roasted geese for the local police,
and Singapore noodles for the Montague poodles!
Molly likes her neighbours Maureen and Murray, so when Maureen goes to hospital, Molly decides to make a curry for Murray. Word soon gets out about her wonderful culinary skills, and soon Molly is cooking and baking for friends near and far. But in the midst of her cooking chaos, Molly hurts herself – and Mum says ‘enough’. Finally, when Maureen gets home from hospital, it is Molly’s turn to receive a food gift.
A Curry for Murray is a gorgeous new picture book with lots of food-based silliness in both text and illustrations. Alongside the fun aspect, there is also lots of information about food, with visual representations of the ingredients in each dish, and a lovely demonstration of community spirit. The food offerings, as well as rhyming with the recipient names, come from a range of different cuisines, and some of the food is sent to faraway places, offering lots of opportunities for discussion.
The watercolour and pencil illustrations have touches of whimsy and lots of detail for youngsters to explore. From the cover through to the endpapers, this is a beautiful book to own and engage with.
A Curry for Murray, by Kate Hunter & Lucia Masciullo
Available from good bookstores and online.
Nicholas’ cat is on the roof and won’t come down. Night is coming, and Nicholas is worried. He climbs a rickety ladder to try to rescue the cat, but it runs away. In bed, Nicholas can’t sleep. He thinks of the strange things outside in the dark, creep is and crawlies and ghosts, and thinks the cat is very brave. But then he drifts to sleep, and it starts to rain.
Nicholas was dismayed. ‘Cat!’ he cried.
‘Don’t you want to come down?
Do you want to stay on the roof all night?’
‘Marl,’ said the cat, hop-skip-jumping away.
Nicholas’ cat is on the roof and won’t come down. Night is coming, and Nicholas is worried. He climbs a rickety ladder to try to rescue the cat, but it runs away. In bed, Nicholas can’t sleep. He thinks of the strange things outside in the dark, creep is and crawlies and ghosts, and thinks the cat is very brave. But then he drifts to sleep, and it starts to rain. Poor cat is stranded on the roof getting wet, until he is woken by the cat’s cry and bravelu goes ot to rescue her. Finally, both fall asleep in bed, each thinking how brave the other has been.
Come Down, Cat! is a beautiful tale of friendship and bravery, exemplified by the boy Nicolas and his cat, the only two characters in the story. The text, from award winning author Sonya Hartnett is simple yet finely crafted. There is no excess. For example, there is no extraneous explanation as o how the cat got onto the roof, the story opening simply with: It was nearly night time, and the cat was still on the roof. Later, when Nicholas imagines the terrors of the night, the reader gets the feeling that perhaps it is Nicholas who is scared of the howls and whispers, and scritchy scratchy sounds.
The illustrations, by up and coming illustrator Lucia Masciullo, are whimsical acrylics. Nicolas’ two story house has turrets and chimneys and balconies which speak of mystery and adventure. Nicholas himself is sweet faced, but with tousled hair and little pointed nose that make him a delightful oddity. There are shadows and clouds and splotches of light, all giving light and dark and adding interest and general quirkiness.
Suitable for early childhood, but with appeal for primary aged readers too, Come Down, Cat! is, simply, beautiful.
Come Down, Cat!, by Sonya Hartnett, illustrated by Lucia Masciullo