Wednesday 31 May 2017


Twig by Aura Parker (Scholastic Press) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 978-1-76015-706-7

Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Heidi is the new girl at Bug School but no-one, not even her teacher Miss Orb, notices her. She is shy and hangs about the edges, blending in with her surroundings. Heidi wishes someone would play with her and become her friend but it is not until Scarlett mistakes her for a twig for her project, that everyone finally sees her. And Miss Orb comes up with the perfect way for everyone to help Heidi feel welcomed and for her to not disappear into the background again.

Twig is a lovely story about gaining confidence in new surroundings, but it is also about being welcoming and accepting of others. Being a stick insect, Heidi does not stand out in the same way as the more sparkly, shiny or brightly coloured bugs and insects, but everyone has their own unique skills to share with a group.

The words used and their layout encourage fun reading out loud. The text is spare, but beautiful and full of movement and bustle.
The classroom was a flurry of counting and colour.

The illustrations, watercolour, pencils and pen, are beautifully enchanting and full of fun detail. They help tell the story, adding much left unsaid in the text. I can see children spending hours poring over the pictures, picking out different insects and activities. Some pages are less busy, especially the ones illustrating Heidi feeling left out, which emphasises the emotion of loneliness. The pages are full of soft colour, colours of nature – beetles, flowers and autumn leaves. Nothing in this story, words or pictures, is jarringly bright. It all flows harmoniously.

I think young children at the beginning of their school journey will identify with either Heidi, shy and trying to fit in, or the other bugs which perhaps need to slow down a little to see who around them may need a little extra help. Twig is a picture book which will appeal to children starting school, to insect and bug lovers and to those who love to ‘find’ items among the illustrations. There is a list of bugs to be found within the detailed end papers.

Twig was included in the recently announced Notables list for the 2017 CBCA Awards – Children’s Book Council of Australia

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