Sunday 17 November 2013

Esther’s Rainbow

Esther’s Rainbow written by Kim Kane and illustrated by Sara Acton (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74331-370-1
Reviewed by Ann Harth ( )

Esther’s Rainbow starts and ends with a rainbow and colours fill every page. Esther spies a rainbow while eating lunch on Sunday. It’s soft, warm and smells like honey.

On Monday Esther looks for her rainbow but instead, sees all things violet, like Daddy’s shirt and Granny’s chocolate creams. On Tuesday she sees indigo in a forgotten feather and the midnight sky but Esther still can’t find her rainbow. The days of the week go by and Esther sees a different colour each day. When she wakes on a Monday to a soft, sweet rain shower, her rainbow returns.

Kim Kane and Sara Acton have introduced colours and the days of the week within the page turning quality of their book, but the unique imagery and memorable language are what attracted me. Children will be able to relate to the violet in hard, shiny nail polish, the blue in the echo of a swimming pool and yellow on baby’s I-like-butter chin. The words flow beautifully and the simple but effective illustrations allow you to fall in love with Esther immediately.

Esther’s Rainbow is suitable for children aged 3-6 but children younger and older will enjoy it as well. It recreates a familiar but colourful week in the life of a child but enhances it with a unique touch. Most children will identify with Esther’s experiences.

Kim Kane was born in London but now resides with her family in Melbourne. 2011 was a big year for her as two of her picture books, Family Forest and Vegetable Ark were recognised by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Family Forest was shortlisted for the CBCA award and Vegetable Ark was a CBCA notable book in two separate categories. But those aren’t her only awards. Her first book, Pip: the Story of Olive, received the Barbara Ramsden Award in 2008.

Sara Acton was also born in England and lived in New Zealand before moving to Australia. She now lives near the ocean in New South Wales. She is an award winner in her own right and her work in Esther’s Rainbow illustrates the reason for this. Her book, Ben and Duck, was the winner of the CBCA Crichton Award for new illustrators.

Ann Harth is a published children's author and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, will be released in 2012.

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