Tuesday 16 May 2017

The Fix-it Man

The Fix-it Man written by Dimity Powell, illustrated by Nicky Johnston (EK Books) HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-925335-34-7

Reviewed by Elizabeth Vercoe

Grief, love and loss are a natural part of life and The Fix-it Man broaches them all. In the hands of Dimity Powell and Nicky Johnston, the treatment of this often challenging subject is accessible, masterful and most importantly of all, age-appropriate.

A young girl believes her dad to be the king of fixing things. After the death of her mother, both the child and her father discover that broken hearts are not as easily repaired as damaged toys or cracked teapots.

The media release calls this, ‘A hopeful story of life, loss and love,’ and it is definitely that. It is also a celebration of what children do so well – living in the moment. It is important to note that this is a book for everyone, not just those who are moving through the challenges of grief and loss. It’s divine.

What is not spoken out loud through the text is delicately conveyed through detailed pen and wash illustrations. Together the text and images work in tandem to create a colourful, uplifting and profoundly affecting narrative. I particularly love the snippets of rhyme which provide an unexpected change of pace at significant moments.
The ability of this work to travel into sadness and move through to the other side with joy is remarkable. Every element of this picture book has been explored deeply, to create a work of strength and hope.

The story, with its subtle directives for dealing with grief and loss in young children, cuts to the heart of what it means to live and to love. Reading this book actually warmed my heart.This is a simply beautiful picture book for 4-8 year olds.

Substantial teachers’ notes from the author are also available.

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