Sunday 17 March 2019

Violet and Nothing

Violet and Nothing written & illustrated by Fiona Burrows (Fremantle Press) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN9781925591552

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Violet is always thinking when she’s eating, playing, feeding her cat, cooking, just living. One day she thinks about ‘nothing,’ but the concept eludes her. What is nothing? Where is it? If nothing is real, is anything real? These are deep philosophical questions for a small girl to ponder. She asks people in her life such as her sister and mother. They come up with ‘answers’ such as nothing is empty space, or blankness.

But when Violet looks at blankness, such as a white page, she can nevertheless see ideas on it in imaginary traces. Inside her mind when it is ‘empty’, she nevertheless has ideas galore. Even in the garden where there’s ‘nothing’ in the air, she can smell and hear. Finally, in her closed hand, she finds ‘nothing’ but that leads to the idea that if nothing is real, how do you know if anything is real?

This book is likely to amuse and puzzle a reader aged 4+ years. Every page shows Violet and the ‘nothing’ she finds – such as the richly colourful ‘nothing’ that occupies her mind. The illustrations of ‘nothing’ are abstract and filled with interesting trivia while the illustrations of Violet and the people in her life are eye-grabbing. This is a picture book about the big questions that children have and that adults often can’t answer.

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