The Hush Treasure Book


hush treasure book

Karen Tayleur (ed). The Hush Foundation, The Hush Treasure Book, Allen & Unwin, August 2015, 48pp., $29.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760112790

For many years now, the Hush Music Foundation, a group of the country’s foremost composers and musicians, has been creating music for use in hospitals across Australia and around the world. The foundation was created by Dr Catherine Crock while she was working with children with cancer at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. This music is used to soothe distress and promote an atmosphere of healing and peace.

Now, through the contribution and collaboration of over 30 of Australia’s finest writers and illustrators comes the Hush Treasure Book. It is indeed a treasure! This magical collection of stories, poems and artwork also includes a music CD. For the intended audience, these richly layered pieces approach subjects such as hospital and illness in gentle ways. They help to make sense of experiences for which little patients might not have words. One character plays at being a doctor, using the Special-Amazing-Fixing-Machine to repair Honey Bear. Another feels the weight of an owl’s big claws with black needle tips. A girl’s head turns upside down and in another piece the concept of luck is explored when a character gets pooed on by an elephant bird.

In many pieces, the amazing artwork and beautiful imagery magics the reader away from the ordinary into a surreal world where anything is possible:

  • ride a seahorse through a seagrass meadow
  • whisper the most ridiculous word you can think of to catch a wish
  • find a place that’s cosy and soft like a hug
  • fly above the waves as they roll to shore, glassy and fat in the moonlight
  • meet Dr Maddie, the best doctor in the hoss-ti-pal
  • spend a weekend in a ghost motel
  • feel the claws and feathers of the owl of hope
  • be the small green pea held by a tender pod
  • snuggle up to a friend and watch the clouds float by

This remarkable anthology made me chuckle and gave me goosebumps! I can imagine it will bring happiness to children in hospital and their families, but is so diverse there is something for everyone. It is a must for every library. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Sharon Seymour


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