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

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Review: Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon

I can’t sleep. The moon is moving again. It’s scratching the sky.

Holly and Sparky died.

Shared through a lovely combination of simple child-like text and eclectic drawings, Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon tells the story of the sadness associated with losing beloved pets and the excitement of welcoming new pets into your family.

I loved Chris McKimmie’s dream-like picture book Alex and the Watermelon Boat (KBR review here), and Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon offers the same unusual and appealing visual journey for the reader.

The story is simply told. For me, the sadness of the young girl after the death of her pets is captured beautifully with the line ‘I had clouds in my eyes’. There is new joy, however, with the arrival of two new dogs to love.

It is the illustrations that particularly draw me to the story, with the wonderful combination of McKimmie’s own artworks and drawings by Alex, Maisie, Lucy, Dylan and Blake McKimmie, ranging in age from 4 – 15. I love that there are so many styles and artistic media used to create the drawings, resulting in a scrapbook/visual art diary feel, a sense of the illustrations being created by gathering together existing drawings and sketches to form a final image that captures the mood of the text.

To me, Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon (and Alex and the Watermelon Boat for that matter) inspire children to use their imagination to tell their story in a visual way. I can imagine reading this story with young children and then watching them draw pictures of their own special pets and their home, adding random details and then using the drawings as a way to start a conversation about all sorts of things. 

There are teachers' notes available for this book.

Title: Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon
Author/Illustrator: Chris McKimmie
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $29.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 June 2013
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781743315156
For ages: 3 - 6
Type: Picture Book

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