The Red Wheelbarrow by Briony Stewart (University of Qld Press)

7 Jun

Young children love to play in small spaces. Two sisters spend almost the entire book in a wheelbarrow. Every illustration shows a special moment in time; each is often only subtly different from the one before. The older sister lifts the younger into the wheelbarrow to begin a time of giggling, shared lollies, an upset and making up. Some chickens also tell their own story on the opposite pages while one independent or inquisitive chook ventures closer and closer to the girls, perhaps attracted by their beguiling company and antics.

The action is shown in, what are basically, frameless panels surrounded by crisp white space. The focus is then put clearly on the characters, with room for children to add to the story from their own experiences or imaginations.  This wordless picture book would also make a beautiful silent short movie.

by Joy Lawn, Children’s Literature Consultant

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