Wednesday 26 March 2014

Here In The Garden

Here In The Garden written and illustrated by Briony Stewart (University of Queensland Press)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9780 7022 5010 1
Reviewed by Jo Antareau

Pets play a special role in a child’s life as they love the child unconditionally. But sadly, every child who has loved a pet will one day have to deal with the loss of their dear friend, playmate, confidante and partner-in-crime. Briony Stewart has captured the essence of a child’s wistful heartache beautifully. The story follows the bittersweet memories a boy has of sharing his garden with a fun little rabbit.

Briony Stewart’s words and illustrations bring the cute bunny to life – then gently remind us that he is no longer with his loving owner.

Written sparingly with a light touch and a lack of sentimentality, this book focuses on how the bereaved child rebuilds his love of the garden he and his much-loved pet once shared and played in, now that he is there alone.

This is a difficult topic for a book for young readers, but I think the author has managed it. I believe it would appeal to a wider age-range of readers than most picture books do, because the theme is not hammered as it may be in a more wordy text. The simple phrasing and soft illustrations carry the subject matter well.

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