Arwen Huang, Have You Seen Mr Robinson?, Starfish Bay Publishing, May 2019, 40pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760360818
Anna finds it difficult to make friends because she spends so much time immersed in books. She finds that she can’t interact with the other children, because all her friends are imaginary. When Grandpa encourages her to go out to play, she meets Jeff who is searching the park for the resident cat, Mr Robinson. Together they search, and slowly start a friendship, breaking down the barriers of shyness. Mr Robinson is finally found up a tree, to Jeff’s relief.
I enjoyed the Arwen’s illustrations, created by hand and then edited digitally. There are multiple perspectives and good use of white space. I especially like the variety of architecture shown, with hints of Europeanness, though most of the close-up shop fronts are not obvious in the wide-lens townscape. There are references to Anna’s book friends, especially the end papers.
It’s a gentle story about burgeoning friendship, the power of books and libraries and the power of the outdoors.
Reviewed by Maureen Mann