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

Friday 15 November 2019

Review: Miss Eliza Flowerdew Can Nearly Touch the Ceiling

Lucy is five. She is curious as to how long it will take her to do and see as much as grown-ups can. Her grandpa changes a light bulb without a ladder. Her mum can reach the clothes line, while Lucy can only now, reach the biscuit tin. She wonders how high someone 100 years old is able to reach. She’s determined to find out.

She discovers Miss Eliza Flowerdew, who is 99 years old, lives next door! Imagining at that age she could reach the ceiling, Lucy sets out, tape measure in hand, to get solid proof of her theory, and be witness to this mind-blowing event.

Miss Eliza Flowerdew can only reach her biscuit tin. And she needs help from cushions and other height enhancers to do it.  In her biscuit tin, memories are stored, captured in photographs. These she shares with Lucy, along with the stories that come with them. There is no sign of disappointment at the result from Lucy, as the time spent together, gifts to the young and old, new beginnings and a valuable friend.

This is an exquisite story of the benefits of intergenerational interaction, and friendships formed from the unusual beginnings. It also presents a delicate view of children’s perception of adults; of their age and abilities.

Stunning illustrations by Helene Magisson transforms the story into something ethereal. The coloured words interspersed within the text are visually effective and add a sense of freedom. Clever design and layout perfectly represent the warmth and companionship being built between the two characters at opposite ends of their lives.

Equally stunning images that appear within the story, decorate the end pages. There is opportunity for young readers to copy the colours used in the illustrations into the duplicated images from inside the book, with the colour in pages provided. I thought this a perfect ending to a perfect book. I loved the concept of this book, the messages it carried and the way they were introduced.

Miss Eliza Flowerdew… will be launched by Shane Jacobson in Victoria, on Sunday the 17th November at 1.45, at New Leaves Bookstore (81 High St Woodend).

Title: Miss Eliza Flowerdew Can Nearly Touch the Ceiling
Author: Brenda Gurr
Illustrator: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Red Paper Kite Publishing, $26.99
Publication Date: November 2019
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780648502302
For ages: 5 - 9
Type: Picture Book

For a comprehensive look behind the scenes at the illustrations of this gorgeous book, read illustrator, Helene Magisson's fascinating Guest Post from this morning.