Florette (Anna Walker, Viking)
Anna Walker’s picture book Mr Huff was awarded the 2016 CBCA Book of the Year in the Early Childhood category, so more picture books from her are eagerly awaited. Florette tells the gentle and sometimes poignant story of a little girl called Mae as she struggles to come to terms with her family’s move from a house surrounded by a garden to a city apartment. She misses the garden, the apple tree, the butterflies, the daffodils and the long, wavy grass. She misses playing with the creatures in the garden. She goes walking through the city streets imagining creatures and plants, even drawing them on the pavement. She eventually discovers a path to a wonderful place where a leafy forest grows. What she does next is magical and very satisfying. Mae is an appealing, sensitive little girl who confronts her sadness and yearning for her former home and makes the most of the new situation. Walker’s text is simple and evocative and her watercolour illustrations carry the story expressively, with empathy and tenderness. This is a tender story recommended for children aged six and over.
Margaret Hamilton is a former children’s book publisher. She is now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage in Blackheath, NSW