Katrina McKelvey (text), and Kirrili Lonergan (illustrator), Up to Something, EK Books, May 2019, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781925335705
A second picture book from this author/illustrator duo. Up to Something follows Billy and his dad through the day they create a cart to race in a local competition. Although promoted to ‘assistant’, to his great displeasure Billy finds that dad’s idea of the role is limited to passing tools and sweeping up. Readers young and old are sure to recognise dad’s pre-occupied, slightly selfish and over-protective behaviour and will empathise with Billy’s disappointment. Not to be deterred, the resourceful son shows creativity of thought and practical skills as he quietly constructs his own cart using left-over pieces of timber and discarded items from their backyard. I like Lonergan’s portrayals of Billy’s irrepressible enthusiasm as he bends (not breaks) dad’s rules concerning tool handling.
The story gives readers encouraging resources for bridging play and construction and rejoices in recycling fun and inventiveness. Teachers notes are available for a closer look.
Reviewed by Liz Anelli