Friday 29 January 2021


Claudette by Helene Magission (Red Paper Kite Publishing) PB HB RRP $26.99, October 1, 2020, ISBN 978 0 648450238

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Claudette, is a whimsical picture book, created by award-winning illustrator Helene Magission. This is Helene’s first venture as an author-illustrator, and it works well on many levels.  Her wondrous creativity takes us on a magical journey.

Loutka is a puppet-maker who makes perfect puppets. That is until, Loutka makes Claudette. Unfixable, Claudette is left upon a shelf. There, Claudette dreams and longs for adventure. A gust of wind takes Claudette out into the world. When she returns, she shares her own unique talents and enriches the world of her puppet family.

The detailed drawings are enhanced by a soft watercolour palette. They encourage the reader to slow down and become a part of the story, that has a modern fairytale-like feel. The use of perspective and expression adds to the meaning. Some text on each spread has its meaning highlighted in red and the accompanying illustrations match it perfectly. The text is not constrained by word count and is suited to an older reader. A mix of short and longer sentences match the rise and fall of the story. The use of repeat refrains like clickety clop ensures the story reads aloud well. 

Claudette is a celebration of creativity, valuing our differences and honouring our own uniqueness. This is a book that will be treasured on many a bookshelf for readers 6 years plus.

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