Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Children Who Loved Books

The Children Who Loved Books written and illustrated by Peter Carnavas (New Frontier Publishing)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN – 9781921928161
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

Angus, Lucy and their family don’t have much in the way of a grand home. They live in a caravan with no TV and don’t own a car. They do, however, own oodles of books. These are stacked and piled everywhere. There is even a tower of them propping up their outdoor table. No room in the caravan for a table! Filled to breaking point, the caravan is unable to hold anything more and one day spills hundreds and hundreds of books all over the place.

Dad’s solution is to ferry them all away. All that lovely space sees the family no longer snuggled together sharing stories. They grow further and further apart. They learn that a life without books, the closeness they bring to the family and the worlds stories take them to, is no life at all. When a book tumbles from Lucy’s school bag one day, Mum asks where it’s from. Lucy says “The library.”

Before long the family gathers around it as Dad reads. Even as darkness falls their caravan shines bright, long into the night. The next morning, closer than ever, they head into town. Though nobody says where they are going, Angus and Lucy know their destination. Turning the page confirms that a library visit means they have all the books they need, and further ensures readers will easily embrace the celebration of books that this story brings.

Watercolour and ink illustrations show so many things that are never spoken of in the text. The warmth and togetherness of shared interests in reading are felt in each scene, as are the sadder moments when the family grows apart, no longer held close by the power of books. The community around the library expands on the value that books hold for all of society and the story told in pictures, alongside simple yet charming text, will see the book become a favourite.

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