Friday 26 April 2019

The Incurable Imagination

The Incurable Imagination text by Paul Russell and illustrations by Aśka
EK Books (an imprint of Exisle Publishing) 2019 HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781925335972

Reviewed by Julie Anne Thorndyke

This is the second lively book by the collaborative team of writer Paul Russell and illustrator Aska. Published by EK Books, it has the same design, fun approach and format as My Storee (2018). This time, it isn’t dyslexia that is causing problems in the classroom—it is a case of incurable imagination.

Audrey was always “ a little bit different”, never doing the expected thing in any situation. When she begins school, with many friends (some of them invisible to grown-ups) it becomes even more obvious that her approach to learning is unique. Not only that, but her wild imagination is contagious.

Teachers try to contain it, but her classmates, parents and eventually even the teachers become infected. Imagination even spreads into the wider community. Wild scenes ensue!

Aska’s illustrations are dynamic and brightly toned, featuring thought-bubbles of imaginary scenes and characters. Monsters, pirates, witches, frogs, trolls, inhabit every page.

Useful in classroom settings to inspire creative work, this light-hearted book will also reassure children whose approach to learning differs from the norm. The children depicted in Aska’s illustrations are energetic and ethnically diverse. Some of the characters wear glasses, but no other differently-abled children are shown. This could be a challenge for the next book?

The Incurable Imagination is a large, sturdy, hardback picture book that will survive many readings in the classroom and school library.
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