Littlelight (Kelly Canby, Fremantle Press)
A tyrannical leader, an oppressive wall and a courageous girl come together in this timely fable for preschoolers. When bricks start disappearing from the protective wall that surrounds their town, the people of Littlelight are furious—that is, until they realise that opening themselves up to new experiences might be something to treasure instead of fear. Kelly Canby’s distinctive scribbly illustrations are enjoyably tactile and energetic. The book’s bleak, achromatic landscape is punctuated by bursts of vibrant colour that suggest all is not what it seems, and sharp-eyed observers will likely spot the culprit who’s removed the bricks before they are outed by the Mayor. The narrative’s conclusion will satisfy small and big people alike in its kindly matter-of-factness. With this work, author–illustrator Canby further confirms her reputation as an innovative and thought-provoking storyteller. Littlelight is an ideal pick for a classroom—the kind of multi-layered picture book that appeals across ages and paves the way for complex conversations. Teachers and parents will appreciate Canby’s sophisticated language, which will assist children in expanding their vocabulary and exploring similes and metaphors. A deceptively simple book, Littlelight intimates the ways difference enhances the world we live in.
Bronte Coates is the digital content coordinator and prizes manager at Readings