Brilliantly conceived artistic images convey a touching and heartfelt story in this wonderfully modern style of picture book. Readers from 3 to 103 will relate to the confident and sassy narrator, who demonstrates the randomness of a young child’s thought processes, reminding us of the free-thinking wonderment of youth.
The young narrator is introducing her newborn sibling to our world, sharing her wisdom and observations of “REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF”. It is a lesson in how the world works, with beautiful reflections about the wonders of nature and human nature. This ranges from the achievements of our forebears to advice about the best desserts in different cuisines! Humans are portrayed as rather wondrous beings, with potential to create new friends anywhere, to explore, to dream, and to take care of our planet.
Author and illustrator Zeno Sworder created this book for his two young daughters. He wanted them to grow up reading picture books with characters that looked like them and this theme of diversity and multiculturalism is woven throughout the tale. He also explores our interconnectedness, the empowerment we can all enjoy and abundant hope for our future. Dark times are addressed, balanced by the reality of constant change in our lives.
It is definitely the feel-good hit we all need right now! The illustrations are divine. I particularly like the double-page spread of the whale which I could study endlessly. This illustration gives the impression of the floating feeling of swimming in the ocean. So many other illustrations will resonate with readers and stimulate a response to the artwork.
And this is definitely art. Never mind that a lot of it is rendered in waxy crayon. The simple illustrations are magical, perfectly capturing the youthful energy of the narrator. Yet there is detail here too in the pencil drawings. The bold colours contrast with the muted greys, making the narrator’s images “pop” out of the pages.
In the style of Shaun Tan and Oliver Jeffers, the artwork elevates this book to another level. Adults will enjoy this as much as children, and it would be a perfect gift for anyone that has a new baby in their orbit. Author and illustrator Zeno Sworder lives in Melbourne and has a particular soft spot for pencils. He has created a stunning book that fills our minds with possibility and touches our hearts with a compassionate view of the world.
Published in hardcover this is a book to treasure for many years.