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

Monday, 2 December 2013

Review: There, There

Sam McBratney's iconic Guess How Much I Love You conglomerate must be a hard act to follow. Sad to say, it was therefore with a little skepticism that I opened There, There, hoping against all hope it could in any way compete with the GHMILY steamroller.

Could this new book stand alone from GHMILY's simple, pure message of love that's sold multi-millions of copies around the world?

Happily--yes.

There, There is a gorgeous picture book that's every bit as charming, warm and loving as Guess How Much I Love You. Like the former, it also has storyline that, thankfully, just manages to steer clear of schmaltz.

Little Hansie bear is a tad accident prone. When he decides it might be fun to walk like his duck friends, he instead tumbles headlong down a ditch and scratches his knee.

Dad to the rescue. And Dad is there again when Hansie manages to get sand in his eyes ("Do blinkety-blink like this and you'll soon be better.") and when he bumps his head on a branch.

Don't worry. Dad isn't a helicopter parent. He lets his young son tumble and fall and play, and is only there when things go awry, as any loving parent would--with a cuddle, a few words, some advice on how to do things better next time.

There, There harnesses the thought processes and movement of very young children beautifully. It's a lyrical and lovely story, with cuddle-soft illustrations by Ivan Bates that contain so much emotion, it's palpable. The illustrations also contain unexpected humour and charm that frequently pull the mouth into a deep smile.

Kids will adore this book. Adults will, too--and that's saying something from a reviewer who normally dislikes books with even the barest hint of schmaltz.

Title: There, There
Author: Sam McBratney
Illustrator: Ivan Bates
Publisher: Koala Books, $14.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 November 2013
Format: Soft cover
ISBN: 9781742760728
For ages: 2 - 6
Type: Picture Book

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