Monday, 5 August 2013

Amy's Three Best Things

Amy’s Three Best Things by Philippa Pearce, illustrated by Helen Craig (Walker Books)
HC RRP $ 27.95
ISBN 9781406339574
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Amy sets out for her first sleepover of three days at Granny’s. Along with her necessities she packs three other secret things. She knows she will miss her mum, baby brother Bill, and Bonzo the dog, but is determined to have a good stay.

On the first night away, Amy thinks about Bill. She brings out her first secret thing, a mat that she keeps by her bed. It becomes a magic carpet that flies over her home. Reassured that all’s well, she returns to her bed to enjoy the following day with Granny.

The second night Amy is homesick again. She takes her second best thing from her bag, a tiny wooden horse that grows in size and flies outside the windows. Reassured that mum is watching television and Bill sleeping soundly, Amy is satisfied.

On the third night homesickness overwhelms Amy again. Out comes her third best thing, a boat that grows in size and sails through the rain and wind to Amy’s house. But the lights are out, the car is missing, and Amy feels heart-broken that her family have gone away without her.

Amy’s tears flow on her return to Granny’s. But things are not always what they seem, and a surprise awaits Amy. It’s a magical story about the insecurities and fears experienced by children on their first absence from home. Delicately illustrated in watercolour and ink, the end pages delightfully depict the town and the fairground. The tender illustrations blend perfectly with the themes that are presented with gentleness and insight.

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