Thursday, 21 July 2016

Perfect by Danny Parker & Freya Blackwood [Picture Book]

Written by Danny Parker 
Illustrated by Freya Blackwood 
Little Hare
ISBN 9781921894848

This picture book is one of those gems that are just right for sharing with pre-schoolers who love to see the details of their daily lives on the pages of a book. It is amazingly simple, with brief lyrical text from Danny Parker. Writing text like this for a books is, I think, one of the hardest things to do, to keep it simple but still somehow magical.

It's been illustrated by one of my all-time favourite illustrators, Freya Blackwood. It's definitely worth having a read of her post about illustrating this book.

The story follows three children and their cat, as they move around their home and yard, from one activity to another as the day slides by. From breakfast on the step, to drawing on the footpath...

Some very messy baking and making (and fixing the bowl which had been used for the making but is now broken in pieces). and a walk/hop/climb/run around the yard...

I'm constantly captivated by Freya's ability to capture the child's body with her pencil and paint, the perfect curve of a calf, the tilt of a head, the sticky-out hair. It reminds me of that other great picture book artist, Shirley Hughes. The ordinary child and an everyday environment - an Australian scene with the sandy clay colourings, depicted in such a way that you feel you are there, and could scoop up one of the warm and lovely children for a cuddle. But there are no adults seen here, as the children move on out to wider countryside, flying hand-made kites, then home for food then finally the younger two giving in to sleep, arms flung to the side, while the eldest child reads a book. Perfect.

I borrowed this book from the library, but if you go and buy a copy, there is a free Perfect print inside the book. Treasure indeed.

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