Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Stitches and Stuffing (Carrie Gallasch, illus by Sara Acton, Little Hare)

Loving relationships are so important in children’s lives. It doesn’t seem to matter if the relationships are with humans, animals or toys—they are all a vital part of growing up. This book is about a small girl’s relationship with her Nanna and her long-lasting best friend, a toy called Bunnybear. He goes with her everywhere and leads quite a dangerous life, as soft toys do in the life of a child. As frequently happens with these sorts of relationships, Bunnybear is forgotten on an outing one day and he eventually meets with a most unfortunate accident. Nanna sets about mending him with stitches and knitting, but he’s not the same and Adeline finds it difficult to relate to him as she did previously. It is only when Nanna has to go away for an unexplained reason that Adeline begins to accept the new Bunnybear, as he reminds her of Nanna. The simple, warmly told story is complemented by soft and expressive watercolour illustrations in a blue and green palette, and multiple small vignettes on double-page spreads to depict the different actions in a child’s day. It is recommended for bedtime reading for under-fives or for independent readers aged five to eight.

Margaret Hamilton is a former children’s book publisher. She is now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage in Blackheath, NSW


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