One Sunday by Pamela Allen
Penguin Books Australia RRP: $24.99
A new book from Pamela Allen is always good news. This much-loved and award winning author/illustrator has gained a reputation for representing the most complex and nuanced of human emotions in simple stories that appeal to young readers. One Sunday is her imaginative take on family traditions and the significance of ritual in our daily lives.
At the edge of a forest in a tiny wooden house lived a little old man and a little old woman. Every Sunday, the little old man lights a fire in the stove and they prepare a roast dinner for their visiting grandchildren. But one Sunday, it is too wet and windy outside for visitors. We won’t have any visitors today, the little old woman says. The man carries on preparing the roast; first the potatoes, then the lamb, then some peas in a pot. The little old woman is watching the weather. Nobody will come today.
When the roast is ready, there’s a knock at the door! And there stood a very big, very wet, very bedraggled brown bear.The hungry bear stays for a roast, brings strawberries for dessert and even helps with the dishes. Come again next Sunday, said the little old man. Our grandchildren will be here.
The language is rhythmic and repetitive, becoming a ritual in itself as the reader repeats the rushing sound of the wind and the step-by-step process of preparing the roast. The couple represent the Optimist and the Pessimist – people we all probably know, or indeed the people we are. The bear’s arrival is the ultimate reward for the optimist who knows that if you bake it, they will come! This is a gentle story about respect for tradition, old fashioned values and the importance of imagination.
With thanks to Penguin Books Australia for my review copy.