Review: Two new Australian children’s titles, by Kate Lomas Glendenning

Editor Kate Lomas Glendenning reviews two recent children’s book releases from Fremantle Press and Magabala Books.

Rodney by Kelly Canby

Rodney is another children’s masterpiece by Kelly Canby (who wrote and illustrated the recently published book.) The story follows Rodney, a small tortoise, who dreams to know a life among the treetops. Rodney’s journey is shown through beautiful layered collages that reveal life is all about perspective. Although all manner of creatures invite Rodney to join them up among the treetops, he can’t quite manage given his height; suddenly, Rodney seems to find himself growing bigger, bigger and bigger – or is he? Rodney illustrates a beautiful message for children and adults—both literally and figuratively—that tackling a problem is about gaining perspective.

In the Bush I See by Kiara Honeychurch

In the Bush I See is Magabala Press’s latest addition to their board book series by young Indigenous Australian artists, and boy do they mean young artists! High school student Kiara Honeychurch created the beautiful picture book In the Bush I See. The bold illustrations are set against crisp white space with minimal writing. Each page is beautifully illustrated with an Australian creature and accompanied by a small amount of text stating the animal illustrated, but also including a descriptive verb. The minimal text approach constructs the book as non-threatening to children starting to read since they can allow the images to guide them. In the Bush I See is the perfect book to start young readers engaging with both illustrations and written words.

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