Truly I am so very lucky to be able to count Caroline (and her lovely husband) as friends. She is not just a hugely talented creator of children’s books but an incredible artist. On her recent trip to London and beyond, as part of the Illustrators Exhibition at Chris Beetles Gallery, she delighted all of us with her gorgeous watercolours and photographs which formed a vicarious trip for we poor stay-at-homes.
How thrilled am I to be the recipient of one of these treasures?!! Today I received this beautiful gift in the mail to my utter astonishment and absolute joy. Thank you so much Caroline xxx. I can’t wait for our catch up to thank you in person for such a generous and thoughtful gift.
And in other exciting news, I can’t wait to go back up the coast as soon as possible and hopefully spot this gorgeous Sunshine Coast LIbraries bus tootling around with its colourful Caroline artwork. This is the library service that also celebrates children’s literature with the cutest story park benches all up and down the coast.
Last time The Kid and I were up the coast we came across this beauty – one of my favourite picture books to share with small humans – who love to stamp and mess about like little dinosaurs.
ISBN: 9781760652616 Imprint: Walker Books Australia Australian RRP: $26.99 New Zealand RRP: $28.99
I have been watching the development of this truly beautiful book for around two years; from the very first balsa wood model, that was to inform the illustrations of the piano, to endearing portraits of the original subject with her little red corduroy shoes, to work-in-progress video trailers. At last, all is revealed and what a revelation it is! Once again Caroline’s evocative artwork provides the reader with the most exquisitely sensitive, and stunningly realised insight into a little person’s emotions and dreams.
Bea’s big sister is able to make beautiful music with her violin, while Bea is not at all impressed with the ‘tink’ of a triangle. She dreams of much more imposing musical interludes. And with the help of Maestro Gus, the piano ghost cat, her leap of faith propels her into a world of swirling melodies. Big sister Isla joins her in her pursuit of perfect piano fingers, and together their refrains fill hearts and minds. Your young readers will not just appreciate Bea’s experimental exploits with the piano, but easily recognise that it’s no failure to not excel at everything, especially with the support of loving siblings to help you reach out for your dream. I would predict that there will be many would-be budding tiny pianists after sharing Bea’s story – though there may be some disappointment when no Maestro Gus (who is just adorable!) materialises.
Caroline’s undeniable creative talent has earned her accolades across the world, not only as an author/illustrator but as an exhibiting artist. Her recent sojourn in the UK as invited participant in Chris Beetles’ Gallery’ annual Illustrators Exhibition, alongside such guest luminaries as Michael Foreman, Michael Morpurgo and Joanna Lumley, is indicative of her stature as an illustrator/artist. Her work is always tenderly realised and expertly rendered, and she is always able to capture the very essence of any scene she paints. Aside from her boundless talent, those of us privileged to know her, are also aware of her gracious warmth and generous nature.
My highest recommendation for this stunning book, for readers from around 4 years upwards. I fully expect more award nominations and recognition to come Caroline’s way once Piano Fingers tinkles across the literary landscape. This is one to make my heart sing!
Judging by the photos posted by many friends it was a superb occasion with the glitterati of our children’s literary creators and supporters in attendance.
To commemorate this special celebration a range of products is available but most significantly this truly beautiful book compiled by Stephanie Owen Reeder. This retrospective look at over a century of children’s publishing features outstanding characters from so many much-loved stories. I can only imagine the difficulty that the author had in narrowing her selection down but also, no doubt, the immense joy in presenting each of these in a way that is both informative and light-hearted.
From the 1910s with Albert the Magic Pudding to the 2000s and the always outrageous Mr Chicken this is a truly inter-generational volume that will delight everyone who picks it up. Everyone in the family from grandparents to toddlers will find familiar and fun friends from their favourite childhood books.
It is a delight to hold in one’s hands with the quality of production that we have come to associate with NLA publications and would make a beautiful gift for either someone who cares deeply about our children’s books or perhaps to demonstrate to others our fabulous creators over time
An extensive afterword details the work of so many in preserving the history of our children’s literature including that of the NLA and also the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature.
Whether you are looking for an addition to your personal shelves as a lover of our Australian classics for children or perhaps as a professional reference as you guide youngsters through the rich history of our literature for little people, this is a sublime choice.
I cannot recommend it highly enough – just divine! And not leaving my shelves!
If you are looking for a special gift for a little reader – and it’s never too early to think about Christmas, let’s face it! – this would be the perfect fit. Eight of Australia’s best- loved picture books from some of our best and brightest authors and illustrators are beautifully presented in this hardcover omnibus.
Bed Tails by Meredith Costain and Mitch Vane
Sophie’s Big Bed by Tina Burke
Baby Tawnies by Judy Paulson
It’s Bedtime, William! by Deborah Niland
One Very Tired Wombat by Renee Treml
A Bear and a Tree by Stephen Michael King
Jesse by Tim Winton and Maureen Prichard
Come Down, Cat by Sonya Hartnett and Lucia Masciullo