Aura Parker, Twig, Scholastic Australia, Nov 2016, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760157067
This is an absolutely enchanting picture book about finding oneself in a busy and often fast-paced world. The illustrations are simply adorable with so many fine details, particularly suitable for this ‘minuscule’, insect-inhabiting setting.
Preschoolers and early primary children will take pleasure in, and even relate to, the nuances and adjustments that go with starting school, feeling confident and making friends. And especially for bug loving kids, Parker has beautifully tapped in to individual insect characteristics whilst being relevant to us humans, too.
When Heidi the stick insect enters school for the first time, none of the hundreds of scurrying creatures notice her. Despite her efforts to join in, Heidi is always ‘hidden’, even from the eyes of the web-spinning teacher. With the mass of flurrying colour and action, it is not until Heidi finds her voice that she becomes evident to her classmates. In a weave of teamwork, friendship and joy, everyone helps to create the most beautiful gift for Heidi that makes her burst with colour, shine and happiness, and infinite visibility (but only when it suits).
Twig is a gorgeous book with plenty of scope for discussions about beginning afresh, loneliness, gaining confidence and forming new relationships, as well as including fun counting activities, bug-related facts and details to explore… and finding Heidi! An important and gently encouraging story. Highly recommended.
Review by Romi Sharp