02 September 2009

Isabella's Garden

by Glenda Millard, illustrated by Rebecca Cool

Walker Books. Australian, Picture. Hardcover rrp $27.95

Guest Reviewer - Anastasia Gonis

Writer’s ideas come from a great many sources. The inspiration for this book came from the real Isabelle (Millard) who is and continues to be, an inspiration to the author of this book. Her magnificent garden, from which clippings have travelled all over her area via a great many hands, will live on and on, regardless of the passage of time.

This, the eighteenth book by Glenda Millard, begins with minimal words, and illustrations that are large upon the full-colour page, and builds in volume and pace, in both words and illustrations. Alliteration and assonance is used to accentuate the movement of the rhyming text which portrays the cycle of plant life.

But there is a much deeper, underlying meaning that surfaces with every additional reading. It is the cycle of life of every living thing and the acknowledgement that everything lives on through each rebirth. Children’s participation in planting and watching things blossom and bloom – watching life form, is also central to the story’s intention.

This is a beautifully produced book with the end pages replicas of the covers of the book. The vibrant colours used by the illustrator, Rebecca Cool, are the rich colours of nature and life; of the earth and the air with green the dominant colour. She has made the pictures leap from the pages in unison with the activity of the children.

This book should be read aloud to achieve maximum pleasure from the sounds of the rhythmic text.

Millard’s Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle was reviewed in Issue 14 of the Reading Stack.

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