Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Sarah, Misty and Scribbles’ Journey to the House by the Sea

Sarah, Misty and Scribbles’ Journey to the House by the Sea written by Jacqueline Johnson, illustrated by Frances Español (Partridge Publishing)
PB RRP $15.95
ISBN 978-1-48282-990-7 

Reviewed by Peta Biggin

Sarah the ragdoll, Misty the toy rabbit and Scribbles the teddy bear all have different problems with their eyes and none of them can see very well.  They keep bumping into things and falling down stairs causing other toys to make fun of them.  Sarah, Misty and Scribbles were very sad because they couldn’t join in with any games.  Some of the toys saw their sadness and decided to help them – ensuring that their world was safe and accessible.  After that, Sarah, Misty and Scribbles were happy again and always thankful for the help of their friends.

Sarah, Misty and Scribbles’ Journey to the House by the Sea is the debut picture book from Australian author Jacqueline Johnson.  It is a gentle story that has been written to raise awareness and understanding about vision impairment in younger children. 

Sarah, Misty and Scribbles are struggling to cope in their surroundings as they are unable to see properly.  Adding to the difficulty of their situation is the lack of understanding they receive from some of the other toys – both regarding the nature of their impairments and the challenges they are facing.  They feel isolated and alone.  However, not all of the toys are indifferent and they work together to provide the trio with everything they need to be able to re-join and enjoy their world.

This is a lovely story that covers a lot of ground: how vision impairment can seem to those who do not have to live with it; the sort of attitudes that young sufferers can face; and the type of tactics and tools that people need to be able to interact successfully with the world around them.  Telling the story from the perspective of those with impaired vision allows the reader to develop empathy and understanding; important qualities that should be nurtured in young children.

Frances Español’s full-page illustrations are fun and colourful; with subtle features to reflect the mood and little details to support the intention of the story.
Sarah, Misty and Scribbles’ Journey to the House by the Sea is sweet book with an important message.  It would be a valuable resource for parents and teachers that want to encourage discussion and awareness of vision impairment.

Jacqueline Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts, a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and a Masters in Special Education.  She currently works as an Orientation and Mobility Instructor and through this role she has developed a better understanding of the complex issues surrounding vision impairment.  She can be found online at http://www.sarahmistyandscribbles.com/.




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