I’m always looking for something a little bit different to give as a gift to new parents. Books are one of my favourite things to give. A beautiful picture book is entertainment, education and a keepsake all rolled into one; and the best ones incorporate some lovely life metaphors into their seemingly simple storylines. Two such books landed on the Charming review pile this week.
Kissed By The Moon by Alison Lester has one of the most captivating covers I’ve seen in awhile. The little jpg beside us here does not do justice to the rich colours and evocative shimmery reflection on the water. Some nice embossing on a sturdy hard cover also contributes to the feeling of holding something special in your hands when you pick up this book. Alison Lester is a celebrated Children’s Laureate so it’s no surprise that behind the lush cover is a perfect balance of thoughtful words and lovely illustrations, ideal for sharing with a young child. The text is described as ‘part poem, part lullaby’ and it celebrates a growing baby’s wonder at the beauty to be found in the world. My Miss 6 read it as a prayer; I read it as a wish from a parent to a child.
May you, my baby, sleep softly at night
And when dawn lights the world, may you wake up to birdsong.
May the morning sun warm you, the evening breeze cool you,
and at noon, may you rest in the shade…
With a similarly philosophical vibe, The Boy On The Page tells the story of a boy who unexpectedly finds himself on the blank first page of a book and gradually creates a world of experiences for himself. As he walks through the pages of his book—learning, loving, building and growing—he is troubled by one concern: “Why am I here?” Peter Carnavas, another award winning author and illustrator, has created a gentle little story that tackles our single biggest question and reminds us that the journey matters as much as the destination. This book is targeted at the 5-10 year age group, and teachers’ notes can be downloaded at the publisher’s website, but it would equally make a great gift for new babies, or for adults at special milestones like 21st birthdays.
The boy looked around the page and then before he knew it he was doing all sorts of things. He rolled down a hill. He rode a horse. He caught a shiny, silver fish…..He stood in the pouring rain. He painted a portrait….He fell in love. He saw the whole world in somebody’s eyes…But every now and then, as the moon rolled through the deep, blue sky, he still wondered why he had landed on the page.
These are two stunning examples of books that are meant to be treasured and reread as reminders of the power of stories to help us make sense of our lives. They are the kinds of books a child might grow up with, finding them a little obscure at first, but embracing their message later on. A gift with a difference for readers of any age!
Kissed By The Moon by Alison Lester is published by Penguin Australia and is available from 25 September. RRP: $19.95.
The Boy On The Page by Peter Carnavas is published by New Frontier Publishing and is available from September. RRP: $24.95
I thank the publishers kindly for my review copies. All opinions are, as always, my own.