Wednesday 18 March 2015

Harold & Grace

Harold & Grace by written and illustrated by Sean E Avery (Fremantle Press)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 9-781-925-162-295
Reviewed by Neridah McMullin

Harold & Grace is a beautifully illustrated story about the power of friendship.

After a terrible storm, one slimy egg and one silky egg survive on a ‘lonely leaf growing on a tiny tree beside a little pond’. When the eggs hatch, Harold the tadpole and Grace the caterpillar quickly become unlikely best friends.

But when Harold starts to grow fins and spends more time swimming, Grace can’t join in the fun. Then one day, Harold remembers to visit his old friend at the lonely leaf, but finds that she’s gone, and only a small, silky sack remains.

Wherever could Grace be? Harold feels the full impact of his neglect of Grace and how they had grown apart.

However, Sean E Avery, cleverly brings them back together in a most humorous and thoroughly satisfying way.

I can’t help but think how much fun this picture would be in the classroom for both Pre-School and Primary students, perhaps up to Year 4 students.
It’s ideal for schools to explore both the Sustainability cross-curricular priority and Biological Science units. Project skills can be honed by the children researching the different species of butterflies and frogs that are native to Australia, as well as gaining an understanding of the life cycles of a butterflies and frogs. Harold and Grace could easily form the basis for an integrated learning unit on the theme of ‘ecology’ that could last an entire term.
The artwork is a humorous fusion of drawing and digital, the mainstay of colour palette being limited black and white tones with splashes of colour throughout.

Sean E Avery is a very talented sculptor and artist and there is no doubt his work is unique.

This is a highly recommended read for pre-school and middle primary school readers.

Neridah McMullin is the author of six books for children. Her next book is about a horse in a bushfire to be published by Allen & Unwin in 2016. Neridah loves family, footy and doing yoga with her cat Carlos (who also happens to love footy).

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