ISBN: 9781406387629 Imprint: Walker Australian RRP: $27.99
Bob Graham, one of our best-loved Australian book characters, once again brings his own brand of magic to this bittersweet story of childhoodand imaginary friends and the inevitable growing-up, or out of, both.
Ellie finds the sweetest little dragon in a box of eggs from the supermarket and immediately sets about making him feel at home – giving him free run of her dolls house (though cleverly also teaching him to use the dragon litter tray she provides!). Although Ellie’s friends can all see Scratch quite clearly, her mother and teachers definitely don’t. As Ellie grows so does Scratch until the tiny dragon becomes huge, all the time remaining the sweetest-natured domesticated pet ever.
But as is the way, Ellie becomes a teenager and as she does, Scratch fades and finally vanishes – although she sometimes thinks she catches just a glimpse of him. Just as the reader feels terribly sad about Scratch’s disappearance, he re-appears just in time to be adopted by a little boy who is equally as imaginative and caring as the little Ellie who was.
The poignancy will affect many an adult reader, especially those of us who often ‘miss’ our little people now they are grown but children will relish the friendships that bring so much joy to the characters. Personally I would love to use this as a read-aloud and explore the possibilities of the imaginary friends children will choose for themselves.
As always Graham’s beautiful illustrations with their predominance of pastel shades enhance the gentle text sublimely. I particularly love the depiction of Ellie and her dad at the movies – watching Max and his family on the screen!
If you haven’t yet added this one to your collection, I urge you to do so without delay.
ISBN: 9781406387612 Imprint: Walker Australian RRP: $24.99 New Zealand RRP: $27.99
Always exciting to see a new Bob Graham story and this one which is a charming companion book to April Underhill, Tooth Fairy will similarly delight young readers of that much-loved title.
Mum and Dad need to be away working so the younger Underhills are having a sleepover with their grandparents and everyone knows what that means! Lots of fun and treats and special love abound.
When a rush job comes through to collect a tooth from a little girl newly arrived from Ghana, it falls to April, Esme and Grandma to sort it at the airport. As well as the tooth fairies there are also angels and cupids on duty – to welcome the happy arrivals and to soothe those who are sad and scared. Clearly we need some angels and cupids in our political ranks!
April and Esme proves themselves to be equal to the challenge of finding little Akuba in the bustling terminal and successfully complete their mission, much to the pride and relief of Grandma and the rest of the family.
As always Bob’s gentle but significant story with its layers of meanings and his inimitable illustrations are a tour-de-force and this will be a joy to many readers from around 4 years upwards. Naturally, a read-aloud could easily develop into a simple discussion about kindness and the way in which newcomers might be embraced into our society.
ISBN: 9781406378276 Imprint: Walker Release Date: November 1, 2017 Australian RRP: $24.99 New Zealand RRP: $27.99\
This one had slipped through the cracks but certainly not by intention! I love Bob Graham’s books and this one is no exception.
It is the story of the travels of one Irish poesy ring from the time it left the hand of its teary owner as she rode across the downs in 1830 flinging it away until it fetches up in a New York pawnbroker’s shop in 1967.
Demonstrating yet again that he has the ability to create a seemingly simple picture book which actually takes the reader across time and space to deliver a beautiful and poignant message, Bob has created yet another to-be-classic.
Aside from the ring’s own journey what a beautiful way to explore the passing of time, the changing of landscapes and the shifting of circumstances to young children. And how many readers will be thrilled to think about the possibility of hidden forgotten treasures not to mention wondering if the ring – with its inscription of “love never dies” will fulfil its destiny of belonging to someone much loved.
In a broader sense this could well explore the idea that we all wind up where we are meant to be – no matter how long it takes.