Book Reviews: Once Upon A Memory and That’s Not a Daffodil
Posted on November 26, 2015
I went and took a look at our very cool new library, which has just opened in the last couple of weeks. Wow! It’s 5 floors and has the feel of a state of the art book shop. Almost all of the books are brand new! There’s a whole floor for kids and teens, and they have done such an amazing job. I ran my hands over many a book, perused the gorgeous big, heavy coffee table tomes laid enticingly upon great big tables, and borrowed a new copy of Emily Bitto’s The Strays. There is a section just for Australian Literature. How very cool is that! It’s so well designed, full of open spaces and light.
This is certainly where I will be found on a Wednesday morning respite period every week from now on, working on my book at a gleaming white table.
Once Upon a Memory
by Nina Laden, illustrated by Renata Liwska
Oh how I loved this book! With it’s poetic sensibilities, rumination on the simple origins of things, and the humble memories that we all need to be mindful of, Once Upon a Memory may be one of my favourite children’s picture books ever.
I picked it up in one of the many open receptacles of new picture books, set amongst nests of bean bags on the children’s floor of the library, along with a bunch of other books, and from my perch on a green felt poufe above the geometric wooden decks and gardens of Johnstone Park below, I fell in love from the first page, wordless, with a rapt audience of stuffed toys, a boy and some feathers blowing in an open window.
‘Does a feather remember
it once was…
And so opens the premise of all things, ending with the refrain of wondering if the adult will remember that it once was a child, full of wonder, and a message to enjoy the days and the joys that are right now.
Author Nina Laden, who is a prolific writer and illustrator, writes on her website
This book started from a poem that I wrote during the worst time in my life, a few years back. It started on a beach walk when I found an eagle feather and wondered, “does a feather remember it once was a bird?” The poem took off, literally, and I explored connections, transformations and memories.
That’s Not a Daffodil
by Elizabeth Honey
That’s Not a Daffodil is a story about the way in which things grow. What may not be recognisable as a daffodil in the the beginnning (more like an onion, as all children who have seen one planted would know), might be described in a half dozen different ways along the journey of days that mark it’s metamorphosis into the dazzling yellow flower that it is destined to become.
An old man plants a bulb for a small boy, and teaches him lessons about the the way in which things grow, with sun and rain and patience and generosity too.
I love the gentle stories that are told along the way, of the gifts brought by this old man from Turkey, his actions and his stories, his absences.
The descriptions of the flower as it grows is a poem of its own (I was not surprised to discover that Elizabeth Honey is a poet as well as Children’s book author and illustrator).
Both of these books are going on my Christmas list for children that I know. They are lovely books and I recommend them both.
Linking up with #FYBF over at With Some Grace