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

Sunday 24 September 2017

Review: Stitches and Stuffing

Carrie Gallasch's first picture book, Stitches and Stuffing is a memorable story about the relationship a little girl has with her favourite toy and her grandmother.

Adeline loved Bunnybear. She had always been with Bunnybear for as long as she could remember.

They did everything together. They played together. In the morning they had biscuits and milk with Nanna. Sometimes when Adeline was busy she would leave Bunnybear behind, almost forgotten, but not for long. Bunnybear was a well loved toy, one of those special toys that over time became thin and a little raggedy.

One day, Bunnybear was left behind on the beach. When Adeline realised he was missing she felt lonely, 'Her bed felt big and empty.'

The next morning Bunnybear was found, in the dog's bed, ripped and broken. Nanna fixed Bunnybear, she stitched and stuffed him back together but to Adeline "...this bunny felt like a stranger." This hard stiff Bunnybear was relegated to the shelf. Adeline no longer played with Bunnybear but she still spent time with Nanna. During their time together Nanna taught Adeline how to knit, 'Until one day, Nanna had to go away for a while.'

At this part of the story made me cry. It reminded me that just like Adeline I have a special relationship with my Nanna. I miss my time with my Nanna who also taught me how to knit. Poor Adeline, how was she going to get through her days while Nanna was away?

I'm delighted to say that author Carrie and illustrator Sara Acton had the perfect solution, Bunnybear and knitting.

The story has an easy read aloud rhythm and while the rhythm changes as the story comes to a crescendo, it still maintains its readability. Children will relate well to Carrie's use of a loved toy and grandparent to show change in Adeline's life. Carrie successfully communicates the resilience that is required to get though change, even if it is initially resisted.  

The use of ink and watercolour illustrations in Stitches and Stuffing remind me instantly of Sara's other books;  As Big As You, Poppy Cat and Hold on Tight. In Stitches and Stuffing the illustrations reflect Adeline's emotions though the use of soft tones of  blue and green, with splashes of yellow and minimal line work. The use of little vignettes to highlight Adeline's activity are delightful and informative by showing the accident involving the original Bunnybear.

Together Carrie and Sara have created a heartfelt story that children can related to if they are going through change in their life.

For teachers notes, see here.

Title: Stitches and Stuffing
Author: Carrie Gallasch
Illustrator: Sara Acton
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 August 2017
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781760127787
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book