'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Review: The Glasshouse

Title: The Glasshouse

Author: Paul Collins

Illustrator: Jo Thompson

Publisher: Ford Street, $26.95 RRP

Publication Date: September 2010

Format: Hard cover

ISBN: 9781921665042

For ages: 7+

Type: Picture book

About: Clara lives in a glasshouse and grows perfect pumpkins, ensuring that the soil is perfect and there are no bugs around.

Everything is perfect in her world and people come to her to buy pumpkins; she rarely has to leave her comfortable, perfect environment.

One day, a little boy comes by and peeks in the window. Curious, Clara looks out and notices all the other glasshouses around her. She asks the boy about them – why do they all have holes in the windows? And how can they grow pumpkins when they’re in that state?

The boy shows her the pumpkins he grows: they’re not perfect, they have blemishes and spots and are all odd sizes. Clara is shocked and shuts herself back in her own glasshouse.

She soon becomes obsessed with perfection, spending all her time checking for cracks in the glass, bugs on the leaves and spots on her vegetables. She can think of nothing worse. People soon stop coming to buy from Clara, though, when they realise that other pumpkins taste just as delicious and can be bought from the market.

But Clara doesn’t mind. In fact, she’s happy that people are no longer coming in and carrying their germs inside her beloved glasshouse.

Eventually, unable to afford to buy the best fertilisers, Clara’s pumpkins begin to show signs of imperfection and she comes to realise that there is more to life.

This is a story with a strong message about living and enjoying life. Clara learns new values with some help from a stranger, who becomes a friend with whom she can share some fun times.

The Glasshouse’s illustrations are really something. Bright, vivid and, well, perfect, they sweep readers into this special story right from the first page.

A beautiful book with an important message, this is Ford St Publishing at its unique best.

This book is available online

Teachers' notes