Thursday 15 November 2012

Bushland Lullaby

Bushland Lullaby by Sally Odgers, illustrated by Lisa Stewart (Scholastic Press)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74283-177-0
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

It is not only babies and young children who need their rest. All baby animals must go to sleep too, and this beautifully lyrical picture book shows how and where many of Australia’s bush creatures lay their heads.

Bushland Lullaby has a sparseness and simplicity which creates a safe and comfortable world for very young children to become immersed. The baby animals all sleep reassuringly entwined with their mothers, cosy and happy at nap time.

Each line is evocatively rhythmic: ‘The sun gives way to cool moonbeams’

They fill the imagination with images: ‘The sky flings stars on a winter’s night’

And touch the senses: ‘Where salty mud is warm as sand
                             In hushing waters by the river’s smile’

Stewart’s illustrations are soft and restful. There is nothing complex or busy to distract from the central focus. She has created them using watercolour, gouache, collage and rice paper, and the Japanese influence comes through in the style unique.

It is wonderful and rare to read such a perfectly rhymed picture book without stumbling over the rhythm, which lends itself ideally to a bedtime read. A delightful book for 2 – 5 year olds.

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