Thursday, 28 January 2016

Something Wonderful

Something Wonderful by Raewyn Caisley and Karen Blair HB RRP $24.99 (Viking) ISBN 9780670078455

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

At the front of this picture book for young readers, author Raewyn Caisley writes about Sam, a creative thinker, on whom she has based this book. She says, ‘(Sam) grew up in a small country town in Western Australia. He works at a famous university in Europe, where he is trying to figure out what is in-between the smallest things.’ The book is ‘dedicated to Sam, and to all creative thinkers.’

In Something Wonderful we meet young Sam leaping a log in the country, followed by his kelpie. The boy is attuned to and observant of his environment. He pulls things apart and then puts them back again, forgetting sometimes to attend to his chores. This annoys his dad, but Mum sees what their son is doing is important. On a day that it rains, Sam checks out the shed where ‘his mind lit up with possibilities.’ Using tools and other equipment he finds, the enterprising child creates something useful, ‘something wonderful.’

The illustrator must have really enjoyed the challenge of Caisley’s text, coming up with the ultimate invention, the ‘something wonderful’ that Sam creates in the farm shed. Her illustrations show an attentive lad working with tubes, tyres, drains, wheels and a host of other bits and pieces, which, when put together, results in a machine which is ultimately used with egg-laying hens. Blair’s ultimate full-page watercolour shows Sam creating another invention on a large sheet of paper.


This simple story is very appealing with a pared-back text that rewards reading aloud. The full-page illustrations perfectly capture the Australian country landscape.

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