Carol Ann Martin (text) and Tull Suwannakit (illustrator), Heart and Soul, Scholastic Australia, February 2020, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781742999920
This heartwarming story is a celebration of the friendship between a man and his loyal dog and the soothing music that brings them together.
Charlie is a man who plays the trumpet with heart and soul. After he rescues Louis from a dog shelter they make beautiful music together, Louis ‘ohh ohhing’ along to the tunes. When Charlie becomes ill and is taken away, Louis finds himself back on the street lonely and hungry. That is until music works its magic and unites the pair in the most unexpected way.
Heart and Soul is illustrated by Tull Suwannakit, owner of Melbourne’s, Malvern School of Art. The artwork in this delightful story is simply beautiful. The colour theme throughout of soft maroons, deep browns, sandy caramels and greens is painted gently in water colours that fade off in the distance, suggesting the moment is fleeting. The images bleed onto double page spreads and drift with the story itself.
Carol Ann Martin deals with ageing and the frailty of life with sensitivity and kindness in this story. She also celebrates eccentricity in others and an acceptance of difference. A particular bohemian scene comes to mind of Pete’s “big old house” with some “rather unusual friends” gathered around Louis in excitement.
The themes of friendship, loyalty and kindness are seen through a variety of relationships in the story. First and foremost, Charlie and Louis, then Louis and Pete and then in a subtler way, Pete’s relationship with Charlie, taking him out each week to busk with Louis. Given the current social situation and the coming together to protect elderly members of our population, this book unknowingly expresses the value we place in our wisest of community members.
A touching story I’d recommend sharing with a loved one.
Reviewed by Katie Mineeff