Tuesday 4 February 2020

Together Things

Together Things by Michelle Vasiliu, illustrated by Gwynneth Jones (EK Books) RRP HB $24.99
ISBN 9781925820294

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Together Things is a picture book that looks at adult depression from a child’s perspective. An unnamed little girl reflects on the experiences she used to enjoy with her dad: climbing, swimming, exploring, swinging and playing outdoors. She then states that her dad is sick and that they don’t do any of those things anymore.

The girl’s mother tries to sensitively describe the dad’s depression to her, advising: ‘It muddles up his thoughts. And makes him feel yucky and very very sad.’ The young girl’s simplistic hopes are just to spend quality time with her dad. Naturally the girl has big feelings around her dad’s illness and his change of behaviour, claiming it makes her feel ‘sad’ and ‘angry mad’. Thankfully, her loving mother explains that they may not be able to do the same things they used to, but they can still do things together… different things.

Together Things is beautifully illustrated in full colour double page spreads. There are large random scribbles and swirls on the end papers and most pages throughout the book which symbolise the father’s disordered thoughts and the daughter’s confusion. Together Things has themes of love, family, mental illness and resilience and is suitable for children aged 4-8.

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