Penny Harrison (text), Penelope Pratley (illus.), The Art Garden, EK Books, 22 Jan 2018, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781925335590
Entirely set in the house and garden this story explores and encourages the activities children can enjoy in their home environment. Sadie and Tom love to cook, climb trees, play with the pets and most of all to paint pictures. The difference between them is that, with her mis-matching boots and frequently ‘lost-looking’ facial expressions, Sadie lacks confidence in her artistic skills. To me, her paintings do not look particularly less accomplished than her friend’s, so perhaps this book is really about self-perception and dissatisfaction. Children are often too critical of their drawings, especially as they get a little older. Sadie eventually discovers how to incorporate her love of nature and pattern by ‘painting’ in a different way, finding that there is more than one use for a paintbrush. In watercolour paint throughout, the more detailed images of flowers contrast with Pratley’s simple pale wash illustrations. Suitable for 4-8 year olds.
Reviewed by Liz Anelli