Wednesday 4 May 2022

Whisper on the Wind

Whisper on the Wind by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Jess Racklyeft (Allen & Unwin) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN: 9781760526887

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

‘This is the wind that carries the whisper from Ren’s dream.’ Resembling a message in a bottle, the whisper dances on moonlit ocean swells and plays with fish, dolphins, and a colossal octopus. Finally, a sailor ‘catches the whisper’ and turns towards land. As dawn breaks, the sailor and her son, Ren, are reunited.

Claire Saxby’s quietly cumulative tale glides across the night scene like a ripple on the sea. The use of present tense draws readers aged three to six into the story, so they feel the breeze in their hair and Ren’s wish in their hearts. When the pain of separation is contrasted with the joy of connection, children discover that love conquers all.

Jess Racklyeft’s fluid and fantastical illustrations gently ferry youngsters from page to page, and they deep-dive into the wonders beneath the waves. There is a powerful shift from gloomy hues when mother and son are apart to glowing tones when they come together again. Children will adore the ever-watchful moon, who cannot rest until the sailor heads for home. 

Sensitive and poetic, this is an ideal picture book to dip into before bedtime. Littlies will drift off to sleep as they whisper their own hopes and prayers to the wind.

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