Thursday 7 November 2019

Brave Adventures, Little Girl

Brave Adventures, Little Girl by Iresha Herath, illustrated by Oscar Fa (Little Steps Publishing) HB RRP $24.95 ISBN: 9780648267485

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Four-year-old Anika doesn’t feel brave when she tries new things. ‘I always feel funny in my tummy,’ she tells her grandfather, Seeya. With a gentle smile, Seeya reveals that whenever he did something for the first time – from swimming quickly to escape from a big water lizard, to moving all the way to the other side of the world to go to university – he often had a funny feeling in his tummy. But he did those things anyway, and ended up having many amazing experiences. With Seeya’s help, Anika begins to look forward to her next adventure – hopping at the Kinder Olympics for the first time.

Inspired by her Sri Lankan family, Iresha Herath has written a sweet and sensitive book for children aged three to eight years about overcoming fear and having the bravery to face new situations. Although Seeya speaks about places and events beyond Anika’s sphere of knowledge, Iresha has cleverly used humour and wonder to draw Anika – and the child reader – into the stories. Just like Anika, readers will derive comfort and courage from Seeya’s willingness to acknowledge the anxiety he has felt during his life.

French artist Oscar Fa adds a whimsical layer to the words with his bright and bewitching illustrations. Even though the characters are rendered with simplicity, they exude a charming warmth that will appeal to young eyes. A wonderful example of this is the choice to dress both Anika and Seeya in crimson, visually linking the characters and strengthening their heartwarming bond.

Brave Adventures, Little Girl is a fabulous book to read with youngsters who are worried about navigating an ever-expanding world of unfamiliar experiences. They’ll soon discover that everybody gets butterflies at one time or another, and that trying new things despite the funny feeling in your tummy ‘makes you very brave indeed’.

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