A well-known writer for kids once stated, ‘Imagination is simply Image – Nation’ meaning, you fill your ideas well from all the images pooled from your life experiences, the world around you, and your impressions of it. That is what really constitutes imagination. However it occurs, unleashing it is the penultimate fun part. Here are two imaginative new picture books that do not hold back.
There is a veritable shipload of things to like about this rollicking tale of adventure and mayhem set incongruously within the confines of the Blossburn’s family lounge room. Sillett’s surreal tale about a book with a mind of its own explodes with mirth and mystery the kind of which pre-schoolers love to wallow in. It’s not just wallowing that they can indulge in either. There is enough onematapedic dropping and plopping, sploshing and splashing to have little ones dashing for their gumboots.
Fed up with being ignored, the book’s story begins to swell with a longing to be free and to be noticed, until, drip-by-drip, it finally spills in glorious abandon right into JJ Blossburn’s living room. How they handle this unexpected watery liberation results in some hilarious banter between JJ’s incredulous parents and a whole crew of agitated pirates, no less.
The initial nonchalance of JJ’s parents is brilliantly juxtaposed with the scallywagedness of the errant pirates until slowly, the Blossburns unite and reclaim their living room.
Tortop’s illustrations saturate each page with oceans of popping colour. Her inspired use of altering perspectives invigorates the senses, transporting the reader to all sorts of interesting viewpoints so that reading this book feels like watching a movie.
This winning combination of exaggerated imagery and sparkling story line, makes The Leaky Story a must read perfect for sharing on rainy days when the toy box, story book and healthy imagination can really be exploited.
Great motivation for pre-schoolers to foster a love of books and encourage imagination.
EK Books April 2017
Fun and fantastical. This picture book propels me back into the Night Safaris of Singapore where the creatures of the rainforest really do come to life after dark.
Hanson’s illustrations twinkle with modest tones and fine detail until we reach Max and Mia’s school excursion destination, the Zoo. Eagle eyed readers will have fun spotting the various animals featured in the comparative narrative and hidden away in the illustrations.
However, none of these animals is anywhere to be seen at the actual Zoo. ‘It is very disappointing’ but as young people know, a common occurrence. Children pile back into the bus and trundle off home, everyone that is except Max and Mia who are left behind. Queue self-sufficiency mode, which is what the ever-prepared Max assumes with Mia to help him. Together, after dark, they discover a Zoo rich in colour and exuberant with life.
Flamingos flounce and pandas prance all through the night in magical settings filled with wonderment and fantasy. Somehow, they survive until morning light aglow with amazement from their midnight encounter.
Apart from the mildly disturbing fact that no one came back to look for our two protagonists after they failed to return to school from their zoo excursion a lot earlier, this is a thrilling journey into imagination and art, pulsing with vivid almost spectral images and scenes to bedazzle and enchant.
I adore the rich artwork and careful consideration of colour and light and dark to emphasise the contrasting brilliance of the children’s normal (daytime) world with that of their imaginations (at Midnight at the Zoo), depending on your viewpoint.
Absorbing, beautiful, and stimulating, this is a picture book for animal lovers, devotees to adventure and appreciators of fine artwork
Five Mile Press Bonnier Publishing March 2017