Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Papa and the Olden Days

Papa and the Olden Days by Ian Edwards and Rachel Tonkin (Walker Books)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 9781922179272
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Another welcome and outstanding book by Rachel Tonkin, this time co-authored with Ian Edwards, on times past, covering early 1900s. Papa and the Olden Days was awarded Honour Book, Book of the Year for Younger Readers, Children s Book Council of Australia Awards, 1990.

The illustrations project a visual history while complementing the text perfectly. I can never tell which is the most valuable, the text or illustrations. They seem to become a whole so that one without the other seems impossible.

Tonkin reflects on memories and experiences from her life, her family’s lives and stories. In fact, all the people around her appear to contribute in some way, whether they are animals, humans or objects. Each page is a story taken from these memories and retold with clarity and humour.

This series of historical books are a valuable resource for libraries, schools, and home bookshelves.  Each book will be revisited again and again for they present a strong sense of time and place, and reproduce the fashions, food, and social habits. The strongest message seems to be the sense of community which was the most powerful contributor to people’s survival in difficult times. All this is visible in every wordless picture portrayed in all Tonkin’s books.

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