My Brother (Dee, Oliver and Tiffany Huxley, Working Title Press)
This profoundly moving picture book is about the overwhelming sorrow and sense of loss that follows the death of a loved one. The simple, expressive text, with carefully chosen words, highlights the absence of someone who was always there and then suddenly isn’t. The graphite and watercolour illustrations are exquisite and deeply involving. They invite repeated viewings as there are many details to find: references to nursery rhymes, fairy tales and favourite moments in a life well lived. Sometimes when there are two or more creators behind a picture book it is difficult to maintain the central focus. The three creators of this book have achieved a seamless presentation full of integrity, love and ultimately hope—a testament to this cooperative and deeply felt project. As an ex-publisher, I give a picture book five stars if I think it is perfect, that I would not change a thing. This is such a book and I recommend it strongly, especially to anyone who has lost a loved one. Even young children will take comfort from this book.
Margaret Hamilton is a former children’s book publisher. She is now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage in Blackheath, NSW