Saturday, 2 July 2011

Warambi

Warambi by Aleesah Darlison and Andrew Plant (Working Title Press)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 978 1921504 28 0
Reviewed by Jenny Mounfield

Little bent-wing bat, Warambi, lived in comparative safety with her colony in a forest cave, growing and learning to fend for herself until ...

          ‘One day the bat colony was woken
          by a terrible noise. The earth shook.
          Trees were ripped from the ground and came
          crashing down. Forest animals fled in panic.’

Amid the chaos that followed, Warambi became separated from her mother. Gone were the familiar sounds and smells of home. Eventually she found somewhere to tuck herself away from hostile eyes. But it was far from ideal.

Based on a true event, Warambi’s story is one of survival. With themes of family, safety and the fear change can bring, this is a story that will resonate with children everywhere. Even a first day at a new school can induce similar feelings to those experienced by Warambi.

Darlison’s language is evocative; sentences such as: ‘Sunlight and metal burst into the darkness.’ are alive with imagery and emotion. So, too, are Plant’s illustrations. Having trained as a zoologist and with a background in scientific illustration, there is none better equipped to illustrate books involving animals. Plant’s depictions of Warambi, from tiny newborn to half-grown hunter, are a delightful combination of detail and sweeping lines. His use of colour and movement to convey mood, from subdued blues and sunset pinks in times of peace, to the starkness of jagged black and ochre, adds richness to Darlison’s well-chosen words. Warambi will stand the test of time and will make a beautiful addition to every child’s bookshelf.

Aleesah Darlison is the author of: Puggle’s Problem and the Totally Twins series. Andrew Plant has illustrated over 130 titles, including Working Title picture book, Puggle written by Catriona Hoy.

Jenny Mounfield is the author of three novels for kids, her most recent title being: The Ice-cream Man (Ford St). She has been reviewing for Buzz Words since ’06 and also contributes to The Compulsive Reader: www.compulsivereader.com 

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