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

Monday 25 March 2013

Review: Bea

Bea is a unique kind of bird. While the other birds are pecking at ants and wriggling worms, Bea is in her very retro kitchen whipping up some biscuits and buns.

Yes, that's right.

And while the other birds fluff and flock, Bea is off disco dancing, all dressed-up. She really, truly is.

And what bird could resist bubbles in her bird bath? Not Bea, that's for sure.

Bea is also a dreamer. She loves to travel and experience the fullness of life. She is an unexpected bird who stands out from the flock. But is she alone in her unlikeness? or are there other unique creatures she can share her journey with?

This is author/illustrator Christine Sharp's first book - and it's a fine debut. Sharp uses character-drenched text (delightfully typeset along whirling paths that mimic the flight of a bird) and the most striking, truly whimsical illustrations that clearly showcase her skill in graphic design (the author is a graphic designer by trade).

Sharp also laid out and designed the book, which is no surprise - the cohesive melody of word, illustration and layout is fluid and a joy to ogle.

But the best thing about this book - beyond the beauty and the rollicking storyline - is that fact that kids will delight in the jubilant nature of Bea. They will take a balloon ride with Bea and they will see themselves and the wonder of childhood in this quaint little bird. And hopefully - just hopefully - they will know it's very much okay to summon the courage required to stand out from the flock.

There's not a trace of hammer-you-over-the-head morals in this book, despite is poignant messaging. Bea is how picture books should be.

Title: Bea
Author/Illustrator: Christine Sharp
Publisher: UQP, $24.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 March 2013
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9780702249617
For ages: 3 - 8
Type: Picture Book