Meg McKinlay (text), Andrew Frazer (illus.), Drawn Onward: a back to front tale of hopelessness and hope. Freemantle Press, Oct 2017, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk) ISBN 9781925164848
The world of the picture book never ceases to amaze and surprise me. This short, seemingly simple picture book is for older readers. It shows how, through different perspectives and a change of attitude, the bleakest situation can be turned to a positive. With few words, the first half of the book is bleak and dark, the verbal text telling the audience there is no hope in the world, while the visual text shows a creature slowly crumbling under the weight of its worries. The text is then rewritten, using many if not all of the same words, reordered to show a positive outlook. The forlorn and depressed creature in the visuals begins to stand and is portrayed in brighter colours.
The book is visually appealing from the beginning. The verbal text is on the left hand side while the illustration of the creature is on the right. This is not exactly correct either, for the writing is displayed in decorative lettering with a mixture of styles and colours. This lettering slows the reading of the book, allowing the reader to think and ponder. The inverted plot and attitude is represented in the end papers, making this a complete treat.
This is an amazing picture book. Absolutely essential for all libraries, this would make a wonderful gift for a school leaver, or friend of any age. Teaching Notes are available and I suggest those working in schools share these notes and the book with all staff, including the school counsellor.
Reviewed by Liz Derouet