The seed of creativity takes many forms. It may lie dormant, untapped, unchallenged, or temporarily forgotten but when nurtured, wonderful things grow. This bushel of picture books not only gives young readers permission to express themselves, but also demonstrates creativity’s diverse manifestations.
Eric loves reading and living the stories he reads about. He aspires to write and draw his own adventures but frequently stumbles over his feelings of inadequacy. Encouraged by his ever observant and patient father, Eric persists until one day he has an idea that does not require pictures and words to enable him to journey into a story. Eric’s discovery of the power of imagination and the realisation that you can express it in many different ways is a timely reminder that not all kids like leaping into storybooks to experience new adventures and travel to new places. Nor do they have to. Finn’s beguiling collage and paint illustrations are the ideal match for Vescio’s smooth clean narrative. Inspired outside-the-box-thinking for 5 – 8 –year-olds.
Wombat Books June 2017
More than anything, Sadie wants to express all the pictures she feels inside herself through art. She wishes she could paint as well as her best friend, Tom. Tom’s artwork makes her heart smile while she struggles to find joy in her own style. Try as she might, her painted flowers never looked as beautiful as they do in real life. Her artistic shortcomings send her up her favourite tree in abject despondency. Consequently, while perched amongst its branches, Sadie begins to see things in a completely different way. Slowly, her newly planted seeds of determination grow and eventually, bloom into a work of art that buoys her and restores her sense of self-acceptance. Sadie is a beautifully restrained example of wanting to express and share a desire to be something and not quite having the skill set to pull it off. The Art Garden gives readers, who may not be adroit artists, an alternative way to express their artistic desires. It is a visually and texturally gorgeous conduit encouraging creative individuality – and tree climbing! Recommended for 4 – 8-year-olds and would-be artists and gardeners.
EK Books February 2018
Filled with the brilliant, eye-smacking deliberately non-over-styled illustrations of Liz Anelli, Grace & Katie is a story of parallels reminiscent of Tottie and Dot – a tale of two girls exploring their own individuality. Two girls love to draw but have opposite styles and viewpoints on what makes the perfect drawing. One day, after embarking on a project to draw a map of their own home, both girls discover that sometimes adopting different approaches for the same project can enhance creative flair. Grace & Katie emphasises the message that in art or indeed life, there is no right or wrong way to portray an idea. Early primary aged readers will enjoy the rhythmic narrative while older budding artists will connect with the themes of map making and working together.
EK Books November 2017
La La La explores a rainbow of emotions then questions our connections with them and each other. Small people are wont to feelings of loneliness and doubt as much as grownups. What happens though when frustration and inadequacy amplify those feelings? DiCamillo’s almost wordless text focuses the reader’s attention squarely on one little girl’s attempt to attract the moon’s attention through song. Her creative endeavour leads her out into the world of ‘trees and ponds and reeds’ but sadly no closer to the moon. She perseveres in an attempt to find a friend to no avail, until one evening, the moon sings back. This noble simple story, bereft of superfluous word play and judiciously saturated in joyful colour, allows readers to wonder through the forest and climb to the moon with the little girl, singing her small tentative song along the way and experiencing all her anguish, heartache and ultimate relief. Art, words and intent unify in a glorious ode to hope and a call to remain steadfast to yourself and your desires. Inspirational for 4 year-olds and above.
Walker Books October 2017
No creative round up would be complete without one of Herve Tullet’s gems. As with his ingenious former titles, Press Here, Mix It Up! and Let’s Play!, Say Zoop! inspires readers to embark on ‘a magical journey of sound, colour, motion and imagination’. Second-person direct narrative prompts little people to push and poke, and swipe and scribble their way from one page to the next, this time zooping and waahooing as they go. Expressions of voice and sound are supported with stimulating text and bold primary-coloured drawings. White space retains reader focus and provides direction. Individual interaction is encouraged making this series a boon for readers less inclined to sit politely through longer more traditional storybooks. Say Zoop! is sublimely brilliant and clever, a post-modern styled picture book that is pure unfettered fun and allows kids of any reading level and interest to immerse themselves in boots and all. Recommended with gold stars for toddlers and above.
Allen & Unwin Children’s September 2017