Tag Archives: Jules Ober

Tarni’s Chance – Paul Collins & Jules Ober

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Ford St

July 2022

ISBN: 9781922696052

RRP: $24.99

This is a stunning collaboration between these two fine creators. Paul’s ease and expertise in handling sensitive issues is well established and coupled with Jules’ fantastic mini-sculptures brings this beautiful and poignant story to life with an elegance that will entrance your readers.

Tarni withdraws from the conflict between her parents into her own ‘bubble’ of art and music and when her mother leaves, this becomes all the more commonplace. Then, one morning, Tarni is alerted to the garbage truck rumbling down the road and sees, just in time, the danger a stray dog has got himself into. She rushes to rescue him – and does but the dog runs off. Her moment of hope and happiness subsides as quickly as it arose. But wonderfully the dog reappears and now finds himself a true saviour in Tarni, and she, in turn, finds herself a faithful friend. The partnership is the path by which Tarni is able to discover self-confidence and relief from her anxiety and sadness.

There is a beautiful use of light and dark in the artwork which underpins Tarni’s journey of self-discovery and even young children will readily pick up on this.

A colleague and I were discussing, just a few days ago, the escalating rise in young children with severe anxiety issues, and while, some of this can be apportioned to Covid, it does not all fall to that reason in our opinion. Social issues such as family breakdowns, domestic violence, grief and loss are all major contributors and the need for counsellors far outstrips the profession’s capacity to provide support.

We know that bibliotherapy is a sound way to approach helping to empathise with, and support such needs, and it is sympathetic titles such as this one which can add so much to a reader’s armour.

Highly recommended for your young readers from around 7 years upwards. It would work so well as a shared reading with ensuing careful discussions.

Jacqueline: a soldier’s daugher – Pierre-Jacques Ober/Jules Ober

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Ford St Publishing

October 2021

ISBN: 9781925804911

RRP: $34.99

In a completely remarkable new format comes this exquisite narrative from a remarkable couple of creators who have turned the art of miniatures into something that will enchant, intrigue and inspire young readers.

Jacqueline is an only child and has always dreamed of having a sister. Little does she know she will find one in the most unexpected and, arguably, difficult circumstances ever. When the Second World War breaks out, Jacqueline’s life is turned topsy-turvy. Her father goes away to the front, she and her mother are sent away to the country. France had become a dangerous and troubled country for its people. The times are dark but there are moments of light. When Papa comes home with a puppy for Jacqueline, she is overjoyed but it is not long after that the Germans invade and poor little Chiffon is shot. Papa is imprisoned and Maman and Jacqueline bravely ride to the town where he is locked up and plan an escape. After making it to the French Free Zone, Papa announces that he is going to join the French African Army, so the whole family travel to Algiers where life is strange and confusing, and for Jacqueline quite lonely as she does not fit in. Then the Allied troops arrive and Jacqueline realises that the long war is finally coming to an end. Two years later Jacqueline is back in a bombed, and defeated Germany and her family move into a requisitioned house along with its German owners. Jacqueline and Hildegard, the daughter of the family, are very antagonistic at first but over time the two girls discover they actually have much in common and their life-long friendship is forged. 75 years later their friendship still holds true.

This is a remarkable story made all the more striking because of the highly creative format in which it is told – modelled miniatures, photography and artistic – it is both highly poignant and evocative. It is exactly the type of picture book that demands to be shared with audiences of all ages and there is no doubt in my mind that as a springboard into studies of history this is a front runner of real distinction.

I would strongly recommend adding it to any collection either primary or secondary and will certainly be drawing attention to it with both my students and my Humanities staff.