Another perfect accompaniment to being at home and enjoying simpler pleasures, this is just delightful in its simplicity and charm as a little person plays in the garden.
Duck on the green, sun in the sky, egg in the nest, apple on the tree, and me.
Most well-suited to the very young this will be a great starter to exploring their own gardens which may not have a resident duck or an apple tree but will be sure to hold many amazing discoveries when examined at leisure.
For children a little older and in prep there is potential to explore key concepts such as prepositions and of course to share about imaginative play and nature around them. I can already envisage a lovely classroom wall mural which could echo the illustrations and be filled with children’s personal garden discoveries.
From toddlers upwards to around five or six years old, this makes a lovely and timely addition to your store of great books for nature exploration.
I am always in awe of those multi-talented writers who can turn their hand to such a wide range of text types. From picture books to novels for younger readers to such as this for young adults, Glenda Millard is one of those amazing talents.
Alice Nightingale is fifteen but twelve, trapped in an acquired brain injury following a violent and traumatising attack which tore her apart along with her family. Unable to cope with the rigours of ordinary life such as school she is protected and loved by her brother and her ailing grandmother. Isolated and lonely, Alice expresses her perfect thoughts through her broken speech poetry and her creativity by making unique and beautiful fishing flies.
Manny James is a refugee from a dark and turbulent warzone and is desperately trying to put ugly and terrible memories to rest. He lives with a kind older couple who are wise with their understanding of differences and staunch in their support of a sensitive young man.
He is intrigued when, on one of his night time runs, he sees Alice on her rooftop – hair streaming, arms wide – and then when he finds one of her poems he is driven to know her. Alice’s first sight of Manny similarly mesmerises her.
carved from ebony
polished with beeswax
a saint from the book of kells
a dream with
neat tight french knots
i wanted to
read them like Braille
run my fingers along
the lumpy scar that joined
shoulder to elbow
i wanted to
know why it was there
what had shaped this boy?
The story of Alice and Manny is haunting, touching and powerful. They both have extraordinary obstacles to overcome not the least of which is the ignorant small town bigotry which seems to abound in so many places.
Told in two parts from these young people, the text is lyrical and full of beauty as Alice and Manny overcome the wrecks of their childhood lives and cleave to each other for strength.
This is a novel that will move you and I highly recommend it for discerning readers from around 13 years up.
This is one of my favourite Christmas books ever but strangely I didn’t own a copy myself – until I spotted it at the local newsagent on sale a couple of days ago.
In this country of ours where so often natural disasters can come swiftly and with a great vengeance this beautiful story resonates and gives hope to the youngest of readers.
One little pig, thinking about the loss of her beautiful surroundings after the ravages of drought and bushfire, is so sad and despairing, not just for herself but for her humans, Joe and Marigold. How can they possibly have Christmas when all around them is scarred and bare and black?
But Applesauce had reckoned without the giving nature of good friends and family – and the joy that both the simplest of things and the most miraculous can bring.
Beautifully written and illustrated likewise this is a sublime example of both the true Christmas spirit and the true Australian spirit.
You can find some teaching notes on this and other books which were shortlisted in the CBC 2009 Awards here.