Wednesday, 11 September 2013

What's in the library bag?

As a slightly different way of approaching reviewing picture books, I have decided to visit a library regularly and find an old treasure (and maybe some new treasures) to read and write about. In this digital age it's good to remember that libraries are still there as a wonderful free source of quality children's literature. Librarires also have the advantage of keeping their collections for many years, so sometimes you can find books that are out of print and/or not available to buy. 

This week I have Night Noises, by Mem Fox, illustrated by Terry Denton, in my library bag. It was published by Omnibus Books in 1989. It has also been republished by Penguin. Lovely to see that its enduring quality has been recognised. 

The book is about Lillie Laceby, an elderly lady whose "bones were as creaky as floorboards at midnight" who lives alone in a country cottage with her dog, Butch Aggie. NIght Noises is a beautiful combination of many things - the tension around strange noises in the night, images of a warm and cosy cottage, visual portrayals of Lillie's dreams of her life, with an ending both surprising and satisfying. Mem Fox's text is simple but full of both action and imagery. Terry Denton's illustrations have just the right balance of humour, comfort, anticipation and warmth. Many aspects of the story are conveyed only through images, so there is lots for children to think and talk about as they read the book. For this reason it is an ideal book for families and educators to share with children from about 4 to 7 years. Themes and messages about life span, families, dreams, feelings, birthdays, pets, different ways of living are all part of this rich and engaging book. See if you can find it in your library. 

No comments:

Post a Comment