Thursday 16 April 2020

Isla’s Family Tree

Isla’s Family Tree by Katrina McKelvey, illustrated by Prue Pittock (EK Books) RRP HB $24.99 ISBN 9781925820379

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Isla’s Family Tree is a heart-warming tale about a little girl coming to terms with her growing family. Isla is not happy about the thought of a baby brother or sister. She believes that her family of three is already full and is convinced that there is no room for the sibling that is about to join them. Heavily pregnant mum explains that families keep growing and changing and helps Isla to visualise this by making a family tree with her.

The tree starts with Grandma and Grandad represented by the trunk. They continue on, making branches for her cousins’ families while discussing the diversity within them (one family includes an adopted child and the other with a same-sex couple). Finally, they discuss their own family and mum drops a surprise for Isla. While mum is in hospital Isla has some thinking time of her own and comes up with a plan to keep themselves as a family of three.

The beautifully simple illustrations, created in single and double page spreads, make use of a limited colour palette of pink, red, orange and black which contrast nicely with the vast white background. I’m also a big fan of endpapers and these orange ones don’t disappoint.

Isla’s Family Tree is ultimately a story of love, acceptance and belonging and is suitable for children aged 5+ years.

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