Cherries (Carrie Gallasch, illus by Sara Acton, Little Hare)
Cherries skilfully evokes the hazy joys of summer and the pleasure of anticipation. Two children enjoy a range of summertime activities while they wait for the cherries to ripen, from the whimsical (‘thread golden crowns for a king and queen’) to the practical (‘ice blocks that melt. Lick, lick, slurrp!’). As the book progresses, the reader’s anticipation increases along with the children’s, buoyed by the repeated phrase, ‘it’s not time yet’. Carrie Gallasch and Sara Acton have worked together before on the CBCA Notable Book Stitches & Stuffing, and they complement each other’s styles again here. Gallasch’s lyrical language is paired with Acton’s dreamy watercolours, which reveal additional details about the children’s lives. Different fonts are used to emphasise dramatic moments, such as when a boat capsizes, or in the final exuberant cry of ‘eat!’. Cherries is a fun picture book to read aloud with children aged three to five, who will delight in seeing everyday activities they also enjoy depicted on the page. The story feels quintessentially Australian with its folding chairs, sausages and bread, tyre swings, mosquito bites, darting tadpoles and hammock snoozes. A final image of the family gathered around a table reinforces the book’s central themes of family and ritual.
Bronte Coates is the digital content coordinator and prize manager at Readings