Friday, 22 November 2013

Colour for Curlews

Colour for Curlews written and illustrated by Renée Treml (Random House Australia Children’s)
HB RRP $19.95
ISBN 9781742759210
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

Having reviewed Renée Treml’s first picture book One Very Tired Wombat (shortlisted for the CBCA’s 2013 Crichton Award), I was looking forward to seeing her interpretation of the rather plainly feathered, Aussie curlew.

Two cheeky curlews wander into an artist’s studio, and like two little kids, find delight in squeezing paint tubes and dabbing themselves ‘with golden eyes that glimmer in the sun.’

Other birds come to play as well. Bowerbird naturally seizes the tube of blue, Brolga selects red for ‘some colour near her face’, three quails slide across the yellow and red blobs and create orange. Lorikeet stirs blue into yellow and wallows around in a green puddle.

Treml uses a plethora of Australian birds to mix and match the artist’s primary coloured palette until there is a rainbow as, ‘splashes fly and birds all laugh as colours go here and there!’

Not only will pre-schoolers and young readers love the colour fun, they’ll delight in seeing One Very Tired Wombat waddle across the page, lie down in the pool of paint, roll around, stretch and scratch until all the colours mix into brown as ‘wombat closes both his eyes to sleep the day away.’

This multi-coloured picture book combines Treml’s love of mixing colours with her passion for native birds, so it’s a double-whammy for readers. Her artwork is crisp, yet subtly detailed and her splashes of colour bring joy to every page.

Starting with her alliterative title, Treml combines rhyme, vivid verbs and changing font to engage her audience. Her endpapers provide extra information about the quirkiness of our native birds for potential bird watchers, big and small.

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