Connellan, Nicole (text) and Chuo, Selina (illustrations), The story of 2020, Elephant Imprints, September 2020, RRP $20.35 (pbk), ISBN 9780648859901
This is the first book from Nicole Connellan, a former primary school teacher and mother of two. Connellan wrote this picture book to help families have conversations about all the changes 2020 has brought. It focuses on how the global pandemic impacted on the life that children had known up until then. Although there are many things we couldn’t do, there were some positive outcomes as well, such as families spending more time together and getting outside to exercise more. The focus is on the day to day minutiae, and how even though we may feel unhappy, we can help each other by being brave and kind. Remember, families are on the same team!
The story is told in rhyming text, which flows along tolerably well, though is a bit rough in places. It might have worked better in a free verse format, but small children will probably enjoy the rhythm of the rhyming text. This is also the first book for illustrator Selina Chuo. The illustrations are mostly little vignettes of family life, often with speech bubbles and little touches of humour which adult readers will also appreciate. The palette is mostly darker, muted colours but the cartoony style will surely appeal to a young audience.
Reviewed by Rebecca Kemble