Katrina McKelvey (text) and Prue Pittock (illustrator), Isla’s Family Tree, EK Books, March 2020, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781925820379
This first sentence is really well written and will capture kids’ attention, especially as it accompanies an illustration of a young girl and her pregnant mum. Many kids have contemplated this event and for many it has been a reality: the day another person joins your family. While for some children a sibling has been hoped for and asked for, other children are resistant to change, and the impending arrival of a new sibling opens up a can of fear-worms.
There are plenty of children’s books on the market that might help address the issues which may arise when a baby joins a family. I really think ‘Isla’s Family Tree’ will help many families navigate the worries, anger, and negativity an older sibling might express towards a new younger sibling. The simple, yet effective, use of imagery of families as trees which grow and change over time is easy enough for very young children to grasp.
I really enjoyed the childlike black, white, orange and pink illustrations as I felt they were the perfect complement to the text and story. The book is all about how a child feels and how she perceives the arrival of a baby to the family, so the fact that the illustrations feel like a (very sophisticated and design-savvy) 9-year-old might have drawn them was an excellent choice.
Reviewed by Cherie Bell