Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Same

Same written by Katrina Roe and illustrated by Jemima Trappel (Wombat Books)
HB RRP $19.99
ISBN 978-1-925139-26-6

Reviewed by Peta Biggin

Ivy is a little afraid of Uncle Charlie – he is different from other people she knows.  His hands shake; he is hard to understand sometimes; but most of all she fears him because of his electric wheelchair.  When Uncle Charlie comes to visit, Ivy hides.  He can’t do all this things that she can do.  There is something, however, that he can do to show Ivy he’s not so different after all.  He can draw, just like her.  Their drawings show Ivy that she and Uncle Charlie are actually the same.

Same is the latest picture book by Australian author and radio announcer Katrina Roe.  Based on one family’s experience, it is a gentle and heart-warming story about finding common ground and acceptance. 

The message throughout the book is clear: that despite the differences we can see, there can be a way to connect with people, if we try.  Throughout the story all Ivy can see and identify with are the ways her uncle is not like her, how he cannot participate in life the way she does.  The thing that allows her to see beyond that is simple: drawing.  Sometimes the solution is not as complicated as we think.  While Ivy’s struggles with her uncle are because of his disability, the theme of this book is easily transferable to situations involving religion or ethnicity, for example, making this story an excellent start for conversations on diversity. 

Jemima Trappel’s illustrations are a beautiful accompaniment to the story.  What I really loved was the way Ivy and Uncle Charlie’s final drawings are included, to varying degrees, throughout the book.  It is a subtle but effective way to visually reinforce the connection that actually exists between them.

Katrina Roe is a radio announcer and award-winning author.  Her other titles include: Marty’s Nut-Free Party and Emily Eases Her Wheezes.  She is passionate about child welfare, books, the arts and leaf tea.  She lives in Sydney with her husband and children.  She can be found online at: http://katrinaroe.com/.

Jemima Trappel is a Sydney-based artist and illustrator who loves riding her bicycle.  As well as illustrating children’s books, she has also illustrated the short comic A friend in need and is the line-work artist for the short animation Money Tree.  She can be found online at: http://jemimatrappel.blogspot.com.au/.



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