There is so much going on in his books. In this one, the text tells one story, while countless watercolour scenes bordered by black ink, play out to present additional stories.
To a child, the concept may not be thought-provoking unless the thought is initiated by an adult. But to the adult reader, it is profound.
Here, Graham’s artistry creates awareness. It says life is not just what we are doing; that things are happening constantly everywhere that we are unaware of; that we should be made aware of.
Jodie is drawing a picture of a duck. At the same time she fills in the silver buttons on the duck’s boots, many things are happening in lots of other places. But in Jodie’s house, the most important happening is that her brother Jonathan is taking his first steps.
Secret messages can be read into Graham’s work. To find them, you have to read the illustrations separately from the text, then read text and illustrations together, and think deeply.
Outstanding as usual!
- review by Anastasia Gonis
Title: Silver Buttons
Author/Illustrator: Bob Graham
Publisher: Walker Books, $27.95 RRP
Publication Date: August 2013
For ages: 0+
Type: Picture Book