1, 2 Pirate Stew (Kylie Howarth, Five Mile Press)
This book is all about the joy of playing in a cardboard box, which seems to have been largely replaced these days by more complicated activities, but is still a simple and imaginative way of having fun. It’s aimed at pre- to early readers, with large, clear type; plenty of white space; and humorous, uncluttered illustrations with a gentle palette. The story offers an entertaining new version of the old rhyme ‘One, Two, Buckle my Shoe’, which takes readers on a pirate trip to find treasure. The interaction between the children and the dog and even a friendly chook are well portrayed, and the inclusion of the final family dinner brings it back to reality and familiarity. This book is perfect for sharing. It will invite repeat readings and will encourage language development in pre-readers aged 18 months and onwards. Author Kylie Howarth was shortlisted for the CBCA Crichton Award for Illustration in 2016, and promises to develop into one of Australia’s important illustrators.
Margaret Hamilton is a former children’s book publisher. She is now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage in Blackheath, NSW