Monday 26 September 2011

1-2-3 Count to Ten with Gumnut Babies; Colours, A Bush Rainbow with Gumnut Babies

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie present 1-2-3 Count to Ten with Gumnut Babies and Colours, A Bush Rainbow with Gumnut Babies illustrated by May Gibbs (Scholastic Australia)
HB RRP $9.99 each

ISBN 9781742830230 and ISBN 9781742830421
Reviewed by Dawn Meredith

What a lovely way to revitalize the beloved characters of May Gibbs!  Part of the proceeds of this book go to benefit Cerebral Palsy Alliance and The Northcott Society. Awarded an MBE in 1955 for her contribution to children’s literature, May Gibbs bequeathed the copyright of her bush characters to charities. The proceeds have supported thousands of Australian children with disabilities and their families also.

This nicely presented 216x178mm board book with matt finish works beautifully with May Gibbs’ charming soft pastel illustrations. Each page is a different number on the way to ten:

One special hug,
two friends together,
three buzzing bugs,
four cuddly chicks…

I love these mythical little people, tucked up in their gum leaf beds, with their little wooden hats and chubby cherubic bodies! My favourite in Count to Ten would have to be ‘Seven soft floating flowers’ in which pink gum nut babies parachute earthwards beneath pink flowers and in Colours  the cover illustration, depicting two bush babies swathed in fluffy pale yellow wattle blossom sitting on a twig. The text is simple and evocative:
Gold sunrise glow,
Silver morning star,
Brown gum nuts roll,
Orange bees buzz…

These uniquely Australian drawings and concepts have a place in the hearts of every generation and I am so pleased to see them once more grace the shelves. That these lovely keepsakes also help charities help those in need is a wonderful bonus.

Dawn Meredith writes from the Blue Mountains and is a May Gibbs Fellow 2011. Her new book, The Anything Shop will be launched October 15th. See here for details:

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