Sam is a dreamer; a free spirit with a curious mind. He is interested in everything around him to the point where he forgets his chores. He tests things to discover how they work. He takes them apart and puts them together again to see how they are made. He invents things from bits and pieces of all shapes and sizes and scrap materials.
It is on a rainy day that he discovers the shed and all its magic contents. That’s the day that dad realizes that Sam has a special gift.
This meaningful picture book dwells on themes around children’s need to explore, understand, investigate and create. Curiosity about, and absorption in, their world and things around them, can be misconstrued as apathy, indifference, or some other mistaken emotion. Here those perceptions are addressed, from a child’s view.
I found the illustrations created with pencil and watercolour, stunning and detailed. They stretch the story to a greater proportion by showing what Sam thinks and feels. Karen Blair has done an exceptional job at translating this text.
This could be a valuable book to initiate discussion in the classroom or at home about the importance of dreams and making things with your hands. It will inspire children to create and believe they can.
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
Title: Something Wonderful
Author: Raewyn Caisley
Illustrator: Karen Blair
Publisher: Penguin Random House, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: February 2016
For ages: 5+
Type: Children’s Picture Book