It’s National Book Week and families of primary school kids all around Australia have been working on costumes for Book Week parades. Our school’s parade went down on Monday and Miss 5 was a proud Wonky Donkey! I remember these parades from my own childhood and am so pleased to be continuing this tradition which encourages children to celebrate their favourite book character. In a sea of princesses and pirates, I was also happy my daughter chose something a little unique – something that truly represented a book that she loves to read over and over again. This book, and this opportunity to dress up, will stay with her into adulthood. And if for any reason it doesn’t, I’ll be there at her 21st with the photos!
This week I’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak peak at another book, which I think is set to become an Australian kids’ classic. Author and artist Sally Morgan, who some of you will know from the best-selling novel My Place amongst her many other works, has created the beautiful Baby Bilby’s Question about the love between a little bilby and his dad. It is a delightful story for young children, magically illustrated by Adele Jaunn, and an ideal gift for Father’s Day (or any day, really).
Baby Bilby’s Question is very much in the vein of Guess How Much I Love You, only better, in my opinion for three reasons:
- For Australian kids, it is full of colourful imagery of Australian animals and landscapes that offers the chance for discussion about local flora and fauna alongside the actual storyline;
- It is funny, and the repetition, rhyming and alliteration will be useful in teaching reading and language skills;
- I know I’m alone in this one, but I have always found Big Nutbrown Hare a little irritating. Couldn’t he cut the kid some slack and let him win the argument occasionally? Is it just me?
There’s no such competitive parenting in Baby Bilby’s Question, where a father’s love is boundless and reassuring.
“How long will you love me?” said Baby Bilby to his dad.
“Until a dingo dances with a python….”
“Until a lizard lazes in a rainbow…”
“Until a seal sails across the sunset…”
After two reads Miss 4 was reciting the words herself and was inspired to draw some animals and rainbows of her own. That was enough to tell me that this book had made an impact; it held her attention, stuck in her memory and encouraged her to imitate and play around with the rhymes. I’m already thinking about our bilby costume for Book Week 2013!
Baby Bilby’s Question is published by Hardie Grant Egmont (Little Hare Books imprint) and I thank them kindly for my copy.
This review will also be linked into the Australian Women Writers Challenge.