I have another gorgeous kids’ book on my review pile today. Between The Pages by Joan van Loon and Chantal Stewart is one of a growing collection of recent children’s publications on the topic of books and reading. Much like Justine Clarke’s The Gobbledygook, which I reviewed awhile back, this story reminds us that reading is not a passive endeavour but an interactive experience, where the reader’s imagination is as important as the author’s in making a story come to life. In this case we follow two brave boys as they race through a forest on a wild adventure. They swing through the trees and ride over rapids; they escape the jaws of an angry crocodile and survive an encounter with a web full of redbacks. They breathlessly reach safety after running for their lives and whisper … ‘Let’s read it again!’
This is a great little escapade for young readers, using language that would be readable at early Primary levels. The illustrations are delightfully Australian – featuring bush, mangrove and rainforest landscapes along with a colourful cast of cranky Aussie creatures who chase the boys through the pages of their book (and this book). I love the playful idea of a book within a book used here and the way the story celebrates the pure escapist joy to be found through reading. It provides a slightly challenging concept, too, for confident readers who may enjoy moving on from the linear narratives found in most standard picture books.
Between The Pages is published by New Frontier Publishing and I thank them kindly for my copy.