Tuesday 26 June 2012

The Red Wheelbarrow

The Red Wheelbarrow The Red Wheelbarrow by Briony Stewart (UQP)
HB RRP $ 19.95
ISBN: 9780702249259
Reviewed by Jo Burnell

This picture book couldn't be more different in style and substance from Briony Stewart's previous publications. While the Kumiko series dealt with mythical dragon creatures and fighting the bad guy, the Red Wheelbarrow could happen in your backyard. 

Parallel tales are presented on each side of The Red Wheelbarrow's double page layout. While both stories are about family, relationships and a battle of wills, one is about chickens, the other, little girls.

With not a single written word, Briny Stewart makes very step of this delightful story clear. Her eye for detail is partnered cleverly with spartan illustrations. Only that which adds to the tale is included.

Two little girls discover a red wheelbarrow. It's a perfect place to play and share a treat, but the fun stops when big sister sneaks an extra lolly without sharing. While tears fall and shrieks of indignation bounce off the page, another battle is being waged on the ground.

A baby chicken watches as a full grown chook extracts a worm from the ground and eats it. When another worm surfaces, the two play tug of war with the hapless worm.

The little girl's waling distracts the older chicken who goes to investigate the noise, leaving a younger chicken to take over the tug of war. 

What will it take to appease the heartbroken toddler? Will the tiny chick manage to wrestle the worm away from the others? The ups and downs of relationships are beautifully illustrated with every page. The Red Wheelbarrow is endearing in its simplicity and clever in the conversations it can stimulate.
A timeless treasure for toddlers upward. 

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