Sunday, August 16, 2009


Picture books are not just for children! They are one of my favourite kinds of books to browse and enjoy. Each time I come across a new picture book, I rediscover their joy - revisit concepts and topics approached in fresh and unexpected ways - reminding me of the song from Peter Pan: "I won't grow up . . . not me!"
I'd lilke to believe it's the job of children's writers to find the fairy dust magic in the seemingly mundane - to leave children entranced and to keep the rest of us sane.
A recent visit to a bookstore brought me face to face with book after weary book of endless diets and weight watching.
Imagine my delight (and relief) when, upon reaching shelves in the children's section, I came upon Dutch writer, Sylvia Van Ommen’s picture book, The Surprise. Yes! Another book on weight watching - but this time covered in the kind of magic dust that fills me with inner joy.

A sheep finds a way to get rid of too much weight. The book shows the sheep on the scales, looking at herself in a mirror, recording her weight on a chart, visiting a pharmacy and getting rid of her excess weight in a shearing shed, spinning it into skeins and knitting a jumper for a giraffe! (But then, I am a farmer's daughter!)
And there's another reason why I am talking sheep today! Children's writer, Claire Saxby of Victoria begins her blog tour of Sheep, Goat and the Creaking Gate tomorrow, Monday 17August. She'll be talking with Dee White at
On Wednesday she’ll be here on TALE I TELL to share with me some of her thoughts on the role of illustrations in picture books and specifically in her soon to be released picture book: Sheep, Goat and the Creaking Gate. Can’t you hear them already? I can hardly wait to see the way magic dust will spread this time.

The Tour Schedule:
Monday 17August: Dee White
Tuesday 18 August: Rebecca Newman
Wednesday 19 August: Mabel Kaplan:
Thursday 20 August: Sandy Fussell:
Friday 21 August Dale: Harcombe
Saturday 22 August: Sally Murphy
Sunday 23 August: Robyn Opie
Monday 24 August: Sally Odgers:


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. I still have a picture, board book that I received as a child in the sixties. A fairy who floats on lily pads, rides on the back of butterflies and sleeps in a walnut shell. I also still have a tiny walnut shell that I painted gold and filled with cotton wool just in case she dropped by my house.
    Maureen Hume

  2. Thank you Maureen! So nice to see you here