Sally Morgan (text) Ambelin Kwaymullina (illus.), The Perfect Thing, Omnibus Books/Scholastic Australia, July 2017, 24pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781742991122
Lily and her grandpa are going to the park, something they have done a “zillion” times. Lily is bored and continues to make excuses for not being able to go. Grandpa has a solution to every one of them. Through his imagination and creativity, he shows Lily how even the simplest and most common thing can be unbelievably exciting and fun. Lily finally learns to ride a dragon and a rocket ship and to float to the moon while grandpa floats in the Milky Way and goes on a rainbow ride through the middle of the Earth.
Grandfather and granddaughter are linked not only through love but through imagination which makes everything interesting. The loving relationship between the old man and the little girl is something children will relate to as their dialogue is amusing and convincing.
This is an uplifting book with a clever twist as grandpa searches for the perfect thing and Lily admits that he had found it all along with the trip to the park.
Vibrant colours are the main feature of this interesting picture book. The illustrations by Ambelin Kwaymullina are bright and effective, using a collage effect and bold outlines with subtle undertones of indigenous Australian art reflecting her Aboriginal background. The text is written in present tense in black ink on a variety of beautiful coloured backgrounds which combine to make the book immediately engaging.
The book as a whole, shows that anything is possible and that even the most ordinary things can be fascinating with the use of imagination. Suitable for 4 to 8 year olds, this book is a worthwhile addition to all junior and middle primary classrooms and libraries.
Reviewed by Grace Nolan