Saturday 6 July 2013

Tanglewood and Lightning Jack

I'm determined to read as many of the CBCA shortlisted books this year as I can.
I've made this promise every year...and have failed miserably every year.

I'm hoping this year will be different as I had read & reviewed half a dozen of the books prior to the shortlist even being announced this year!

The next two books are shortlisted for the picture book award for illustrators.

Tanglewood has been atmospherically illustrated by Vivienne Goodman. There is a haunting tenderness and quietness in both the illustrations and the text.

Margaret Wild has written a story about family, belonging, loneliness, friendship, staying strong & kindness.

Both women have used the environment to highlight these themes.

Goodman's island, tree and sea scenes are full of stark panoramic beauty and detailed close-ups. By the end of the story, the tree, in particular, has taken on animistic tendencies that remind me a little of The Giving Tree.

Lightning Jack has been illustrated by Patricia Mullens using tissue paper collage. Her choice of colours and textures are vibrant and dramatic.

One of my favourite read-a-louds is illustrated by Mullens - Hattie and the Fox. Her animal collages in both books are full of exciting action and movement.

Glenda Millard's rhyming text reminds me a little of The Man from Snowy River . It is full of magic, adventure & poetic moments. Young Sam's fantasy ride takes us to Ned Kelly country, a race with Phar Lap and a trip to Luna Park.

I surprised myself by how taken I was with both books.

They are beautiful, gentle, unforgettable books that celebrate our gorgeous country in very different ways. I'm glad that it's not my job to pick one over the other for this award!


  1. Hi, can i ask you something? You seem to know a lot about children books and illustrations. The thing is, I’m looking for children books with “scary” animal illustrations like the big bad wolf (or a fox) eating pigs (or seven kids or Red Riding hood or birds in Chicken Little) or being pictured with a fat stomach. Could be any other animal as well. I need it for my research. Any sort of help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. Paul Goldone does a series of fairy tales that can be quite scary (ie traditional), but they're not always easy to source these days. There's also the story of the Hobyahs for genuinely scary stuff.
    Good luck.
    If I think of any more I'll add on later :-)


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