LOWE, Kirrily (text) Henry Smith (illus.) Patience Wombat (The Invisible Tree), 2013 unpaged $18.95 ISBN 9781921632587 SCIS 1632962
Patience is the fourth book in this series. The picture books are designed to instil in young readers an appreciation of such virtues as love, joy and peace. They are centred around the notion that ‘There is an Invisible Tree/That lives on the inside of me/It wants to grow big and tall/Even though I’m very small.’ So with an awareness of these values in their early years, it is hoped that children will grow to understand their importance and practise them in their daily lives.
Here, a little boy who lives on a small lighthouse island receives a holiday postcard from his Nanna informing him that the postman will soon deliver him ‘a parcel full of lots of surprises’. He tries to wait patiently but the parcel is something he wants desperately. So there he is, atop the lighthouse with a telescope seeking the mail boat, frustration becoming increasingly evident in his demeanour. Eventually satisfied, he realizes in hindsight that the wait made him ‘strong’.
Patience is a book to be shared and discussed. The brief text of rhyming couplets is aurally attractive but it is less a story than a theme and moral. The book is distinguished by its outstanding collage illustration and the aesthetics of its overall design. The spread illustrations are masterfully created from recycled papers and are crisp and colourful in their cartoonish effect. Young children will have no difficulty in constructing their own narratives from the excellent, well-sequenced pictures; understanding the theme will require guidance.
reviewed by Kevin Steinberger