Zeno Sworder, This Small Blue Dot, Thames & Hudson Australia, August 2020, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760761110
This Small Blue Dot is a young child’s welcome to a baby, with a joyful account of the pleasures and wonders of our planet Earth and the future potential for the baby’s new life. The text and the illustrations convey a celebration of the best that life has to offer – from fascinating creatures and delicious food, to the joy of imagination, song and dance, to the comfort of loving carers and the pleasure of friendship.
The text is lyrical and rich in imagery, whilst still being brief and accessible for children. But it is the illustrations that I feel best convey the sense of pleasure and delight. On each page, a monochrome photograph of a bespectacled child is immersed amongst objects, brightly coloured in with crayon, producing a collage format. The crayon drawings have a child like appeal and the photographs of the bespectacled child are imbued with energy and enthusiasm.
My only concern about the book is that the text alone has a mature, philosophical perspective that would likely be lost on its young target audience who are more easily engaged with narrative or slapstick silliness or quirky humour.
I can envisage this book’s best value as a useful teaching resource. The images with a mixture of photo and simple drawings could be examples for terrific visual arts projects. The text has some lovely alliterations, metaphors and other literary elements which are excellent examples for writing lessons.
Reviewed by Barbara Swartz