Bingbo (text), Huangying (illus.), The Moving House, Starfish Bay Children’s Books, 1 March 2015, 32pp $14.99 (pbk) , ISBN 9780994100252
From award-winning Chinese author, Bingbo, The Moving House is a story that aims to entertain, first and foremost, but also serves as a resource for assisting children cope with the potentially traumatic experience of relocating house.
Having been translated, the language and story structure is simple, modest and nicely paced for young listeners to easily comprehend. The tale tells of a fickle squirrel in search of a new home out of his usual tree habitat. After being shunted by the other forest creatures, the squirrel decides to build a house on what he thinks is a large rock. Surprisingly awaking each morning to a new location, the squirrel quickly adapts to his foreign surroundings, that is, until he finds himself in danger. Discerning readers will quickly identify the link between the squirrel’s saviour and the mystery of the moving house.
With complementary delicate and charming illustrations, The Moving House deals with the themes of belonging, resilience and friendship. Perhaps the story would have been more sincere if other emotions that often accompany a difficult experience were explored. It also has the potential to open up discussion about the literal and non-literal meanings of ‘moving house’.
reviewed by Romi Sharp