Thursday 8 September 2022

Jigsaw: a Puzzle in the Post

Jigsaw: a Puzzle in the Post by Bob Graham (Walker Books). HB RRP $27.99 ISBN 9781529503319

Reviewed by Kerry Gittins

When a parcel arrives at the Kelly house, no-one knows who sent it or where it came from. The card attached simply says ‘Good luck to you all.’  Inside the plain brown wrapping they find a jigsaw puzzle of a beautiful African sunrise. The family sets about putting the pieces together. Dad even sets his watch to Late Autumn to allow everyone time to get all the pieces in their right places. As they work their way through the cycle of the seasons and Autumn returns once more, the colourful dawn of the puzzle emerges and the jigsaw is almost complete. But then Dad discovers that – oh no – the piece for the hippo’s swim shorts is missing!  They search everywhere, even under their dog Lucy, but it’s nowhere to be found.


Then mum realises that it must have accidentally been put out with the rubbish! ‘We’ll find it,’ Dad says, and they drive to the recycling centre where they are presented with an enormous pile of rubbish. They start searching and, although they don’t find the missing puzzle piece, they do find other pieces of people’s lives like letters from faraway places, bus tickets, wedding confetti, photos, old socks and lots of shopping lists. Without realising it, Dad has actually trodden on the missing piece, and it’s stuck to the bottom of his boot. As he walks through the house it slips off and onto the carpet where it is found by Kitty, the youngest Kelly member. ‘Must have been there the whole time,’ she says. With Autumn nearly over, Kitty places the final piece and her sister straightens it. The jigsaw is finished. With enough stamps to cover its travels, Katie and Kitty post it back to ‘Sumwear’, with their own message attached.

From my very first encounter of this brilliant Australian author/illustrator with Greetings from Sandy Beach, through Queenie the BantamA Bus Called HeavenHow The Sun Got To Coco’s House and all the others in between, Bob Graham’s latest picture book is yet another superb example of masterful storytelling. With his signature style of softly outlined, colourful illustrations, and underlying themes of family and community, Jigsaw: A Puzzle in the Post is in an uplifting tale of hope, togetherness, and perseverance, and of always being found no matter how lost you think you might be.

Supporting teaching themes could include family, recycling, perseverance, community, connections, jigsaws, puzzles, hope, stamps, seasons, waste, letter writing. 

Highly recommended for ages 3 – 7 years.

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