Friday 24 January 2014

Clementine’s Walk

Clementine’s Walk by Annie White, illustrated by Annie White (New Frontier Publishing)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN – 9781921928475
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

The opening spread shows Clementine atop a jumbled pile of items; book, bag, blanket, puzzle pieces and toy – some that seem rather chewed. The text says “Clementine was very bored”  and readers see her eyes fixed on her lead, which they’re told she’s spotted and that it “gave her a clue”. Lead in her mouth she’s then off to coax someone to take her walking. But everyone’s busy.

Nostalgic colour illustrations show varied reactions to her intrusive behavior. James is frustrated she’s messed up his jigsaw, Nana is perplexed at her knitting unravelling, Dad is frightened into waking from under his newspaper, Mum is shocked as paint squirts across her art work and baby does nothing but cry. Even the chooks squawk at Clementine. Dejected, she slinks away.

Satisfied that each of their projects have reached a satisfactory point, the family is ready to play but Clementine is nowhere to be found. Everyone searches high and low, eventually finding her “fast asleep, sprawled on the washing”. It’s then that they decide it’s too nice a day to miss the chance of a walk and a delighted Clementine takes front position as they head off.

Suitable for 3-6 year olds and told in rhyme the story’s simplicity is in each situation and in characters’ reactions. Everything comes forth in illustrations that pull readers into the ups and downs of being the energetic dog in the house of people who are occupied with their own concerns. Young readers will be able to access all they need to in the visual story without referring to the text at all.

I’m a sucker for great endpapers and these ones are beautiful. The first immediately draws readers in with a trail that includes a long strand of wool, a bone, a puzzle piece, a ball, a book, a teddy and a shoe. The final double page spread is a map showing the route the family take on their walk from Clementine’s home, past shops that sell Nana’s wool, Dad’s paper, Clementine’s bones and Mum’s art supplies. An enjoyable book.

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