Nature’s Song (Robert Vescio, illus Nicky Johnston, New Frontier)
In Nature’s Song, a girl hunts for the perfect treasure for her little brother, who is stuck at home with a broken leg. She sets out in her overalls, dog at her heels, butterfly net in hand and a bag over her shoulder for catching her treasures. Although the girl is on a mission, she enjoys her time outdoors, lying in fields of flowers and inspecting rockpools. Watercolour illustrations by Nicky Johnston (Amira’s Suitcase) contribute a delightful, wistful feeling and overall calm. After finding flowers, shells and sticks for her brother, there is no end to their imaginative fun when she returns indoors. This is a charming picture book—an invitation for conversations about how nature can heal and calm us, coping with changes in routine, and about compassion for others when they are injured or sad, particularly for a first experience with broken bones. Robert Vescio (The Art of Words, Seal Child) writes poetically for readers aged 3+, with words to extend vocabulary (beckons, flourish, dazzle) while being contextually clear. Nature’s Song will pair nicely with other softly coloured and outdoors-focused picture books such as Jetty Jumping, Sunday Skating, Where the Lyrebird Lives, and Shadow Catchers.
Books+Publishing reviewer: Clare Millar is a writer, editor and children's bookseller. Books+Publishing is Australia’s number-one source of pre-publication book reviews.