It is the silly season in Australia. It’s gloriously sunny and the country has shut down in celebration: picnics, bbqs, water play, elbow exercise. Lucky the people in the Southern Hemisphere! For the rest of us, we have hunkered down and huddled by the fire. The Christmas jingles bring joy, I think, solely to make this wintry front seem festive. This family still kits up to head outside but it just takes so. much. longer. Dashing through the snow, indeed.
So I’d like to pop this icicle wonderland and bring you this week’s book about frolicking in the sun: Tom and Millie’s Great Big Treasure Hunt by Guy Parker Rees. (Never you mind that An Aussie Night Before Christmas by Yvonne Morrison has been on rotation). Two cats, Tom and Millie have a “list of very important things to find”. They recruit their friends (e.g. Sarah the bunny, Toby the monkey) to find these things leading them on an adventure through the beach, a playground, a party shop downtown, a play centre, and a farmer’s market. At each stop, there is a flurry of people and activity. Picking up clues along the way, this gang of adventurers uncovers an outdoor treasure at the very end. Incidentally, the clues are an exercise in shape and colour recognition. There’s a cast of characters to follow along at the start of the book should you tire of reading to create your own stories.
Ankle Biter 2 is at that glorious stage where he just wants to be ever so helpful or perhaps demonstrate his id (i.e. I Know). “Where is Tom?” “There he is!” “Where are the four orange triangles?” As his head lobs up and over the page, “There they are!” His favourite page was the farmer’s market. From the tractor, to the variety of fruits and the tray of eggs, winner! A feast in his eyes. For me, I picked it up because of the autonomous adventures throughout the neighbourhood. This is one of the first books I’ve come across that has featured a farmer’s market. I miss the green grocer and I think Ankle Biter 1 also misses touching fruit and veg. (The supermarkets here like the hermetic seal). *Spoiler* the gang of adventurers’ clues lead them to a summer fair: a dreamy example of celebration and urban kindness in the sun. I am delighted to see that both destinations are included in the navigation of children’s spaces. They should be and I’d like to see more represented. Ahhh, let’s continue our urban imagined come rain or sun.
Source: Guy Parker Rees: Picture Books