Papa Sky (Jane Jolly, illus by Sally Heinrich, MidnightSun)
Papa Sky is an educational picture book from the creative team behind CBCA Honour Book One Step at a Time. Papa Sky belongs where the earth meets the sky. When he falls to the forest floor, the delicate balance is upset and the forest animals must help him get back into the sky to restore it. This imaginative story has a strong environmental message that addresses the impact of climate change on the world’s cloud forests and the different species affected. Author Jane Jolly uses alliteration, repetition and descriptive language to create a well-paced narrative that lends itself to reading aloud. The language is lyrical but not overly simplified, which will help to challenge older readers. Sally Heinrich’s illustrations enhance the story and her clever use of split panels and white space within the pictures foreshadows the events as the story unfolds. The front endpapers include a world map highlighting the location of existing cloud forests and the back endpapers include information about animals from different cloud forests, encouraging further research. Papa Sky will appeal to different audiences: younger readers aged five and under will enjoy exploring the illustrations to spot the hidden animals and decipher the shapes of the cloud formations, while primary-school readers will be able to use the book as an educational resource. Overall, Papa Sky is a unique and thought-provoking book.
Maria H Alessandrino is a Perth-based writer and freelance reviewer