Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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One Step at a Time (Jane Jolly, illus by Sally Heinrich, MidnightSun)

MidnightSun ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to finance its first picture book. It is an unusual and challenging book to launch its children’s list. It is touching and tragic, but also life-affirming. One Step at a Time tells the story of the friendship between a boy called Luk, who lives on the border between Thailand and Burma, and his young elephant Mali. There are thousands of landmines scattered about the jungle where Luk and his grandmother work, and they are extremely careful. However, one day Mali steps on a landmine that explodes. The elephant loses a leg and Luk nurses her back to health. A heart-warming solution sees Luk and Mali experience the delights of the beautiful jungle once again. Jane Jolly has a knack for tackling unusual stories (Limpopo Lullaby) with tender, evocative writing. The striking illustrations are reproductions of hand-coloured lino prints. They are dramatic and engaging and the book is cleverly designed, taking in the elements of the lino cuts and leaving plenty of space for text. This is highly recommended, especially for classroom discussion.

Margaret Hamilton is a former children’s book publisher. She now provides freelance publishing services and runs Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage in Blackheath


Category: Reviews