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

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Review: The Perfect Present

I quite simply adore Fiona Roberston’s work. She’s one of these author/illustrators I wish I could ‘be’. Her books are an eternal delight and so I was ecstatic to open her latest offering – The Perfect Present.

Little Henry is eagerly awaiting his birthday – and is guessing, alphabetically, what his gift from Spot might be. Spot, his pet duck, is keeping mum. He’s hoping his fishing rod – an item Henry has swooned over for quite a while now – will be the perfect present.

What Spot doesn’t expect, however, is the enormous, wobbling box that arrives in the mail from Henry’s grandparents. Nor does he expect the ruination of the ‘perfect’ present that is about to occur – when out of that wobbly box leaps… Henry’s idea of a perfect present.

This adorable and adventurous tale is typical Robertson style, with delightfully warm characters, hot-water-bottle friendship, intelligent writing that doesn’t dumb things down, and the sweetest of endings, without a hunt of schmaltz.

Open, white pages with child-entrancing ink illustrations (that will also delight adults with their retro detail), I love the minimal use of primary colours, temperate shading and character-driven warmth.

But what I love most about Robertson’s work – beyond the absolutely gorgeous and uttely charming illustrations and storylines, is her penchant for reaching outside-the-cookie-cutter picture book creation.

Another Robertson winner.

Title: The Perfect Present
Author/Illustrator: Fiona Robertson
Publisher: Viking, $24.95
Publication Date: 3 October 2011
ISBN: 9780670074761
Format: Hard cover
For ages: 2 – 8
Type: Picture Book