Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Toast Tree

The Toast Tree by Corina Martin, illustrated by Fern Martins
(Magabala Books)
PB RRP $17.95
ISBN 978-1922142689

Reviewed by Francine Sculli

In The Toast Tree writer Corina Martin has passed on the wildly imaginative and rich oral Aboriginal storytelling history of her own family, and in its pages she has carved a magical world where believing is everything. Inspired by her own childhood memories, Corina honours her grandparents in the most wonderful of ways. In much the same way that they kept Corina and her siblings believing the toast tree was real, Corina will have generations to come searching for the toast tree after reading this precious tale.

And who wouldn’t want to believe something so special?

Everyday Ella and Mia’s grandfather comes home from work with a special treat. They wait eagerly for him at the gate, itching to see what he pulls out of his lunch box. Without fail, he takes out two golden-brown pieces of toast, dribbled in honey and with a taste like no other. They beg him to tell them the story of the toast tree. He speaks of its magic resting and growing in the sand dunes, and its bright green leaves from which the toast hangs, setting alight the girls’ imaginations.

The next day, curious and wild with adventure, the girls go in search of the tree. In the sand dunes, they find nothing but a bush with beautiful green flowers shaped like birds and filled with a cream that tastes just like honey. But when their grandfather sees the girls picking the flowers, he is very sad and explains to them that there will be no honey left for the birds. It is only he who can pick toast from the tree or the magic will stop. Not wanting the magic to stop, the girls agree to let the toast tree grow and leave it in the hands of their grandfather. Their curiosity remains, but never do they find the tree, only its gifts their grandfather brings for them.

This beautiful story is made even more magical by the by Fern Martins’ watercolour illustrations, which vividly evolve with each turn of the page. Their deeply rich colours and details give life to this story and life to the family that share it.

The Toast Tree is a deliciously sweet and simple tale that will have anyone, of any age, pleading to have it read to them over and over again. This book weaves themes of family, memories, childhood, storytelling and imagination, and a little of its magic will go a very long way.


No comments:

Post a comment

Buzz Words Books would love to hear what you think.