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

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Review: Pea Pod Lullaby

This is a bedtime story that won’t lead to sleep because you’ll never want to stop reading it.

It’s beautiful and poetic and it will pull on your heartstrings.

I am the small green pea. You are the tender pod. Hold me.

I am the falling star. You are the catching hands. Catch me.

Pea Pod Lullaby is a beautiful story, by the talented Glenda Millard, about a mother and her children. 

With the most gorgeous illustrations by Stephen Michael King, the story follows a mum and her children on a journey across a great ocean. And with every turn of the page is another divine comparison of what it means to be a mother, what it means to be a child and how the two roles are so tenderly connected.

But is it?

Something very important happens on the title page of this book, and if you pay close attention, it changes the whole story. Because when you understand where the mother and children have come from, you realise that the journey across the ocean is not metaphorical.

It is a real journey across a real ocean from a place of badness to a unknown place the mother and children can only hope is filled with goodness.

And once you realise the journey is real, you start to think that maybe the words aren't just about a mother and her children. You start to think that maybe they're about the whole world and the people in it who dare to hope that someone will help them when they are in desperate need.

The beauty of this book is that the interpretation is up to you. You get to decide what the story means, and perhaps you'll see something I didn't even notice as you explore the powerful words and illustrations for yourself. What a beautiful gift Glenda and Stephen have given the world.

That's also not the only special thing about this picture book. As the very last page explains, the creation of Pea Pod Lullaby was an in-person collaboration at the Manning Regional Art Gallery. 

The illustrations came first as part of a wall project. And as the scenes were drawn, the words were added and revised, comments from people in the gallery welcomed as the two creators created together.

The result is hauntingly beautiful, and I wonder if it could ever have been what it is without that creative closeness.

I have to admit I feel as if my words are incapable of conveying how breathtaking this book is. All I can do is recommend that you find it and explore it for yourself.

I promise you won't regret it.

Title: Pea Pod Lullaby
Author: Glenda Millard
Illustrator: Stephen Michael King
Publisher: Allen and Unwin, $24.99
Publication Date: 23 August 2017
Format: Hard back
ISBN: 9781760290085
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book


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