Francie, her Mum and baby sister set out from Grandma’s for home. It is raining and there is a lot of traffic. They stop along the way and eat their picnic Grandma has packed for them. Francie wonders what her baby sister’s name will be. Will it be Alice, Isabel, or Emma? At the service station Francie’s mum settles on a name they both love, and Daddy will love too.
The large, double page illustrations give the reader a bird’s eye view of the highway and life going on around Francie and her Mum. Rabbits, field mice, a kestrel, people fishing in the rain, and the rain itself are all treated as importantly as the other, as only Bob Graham can. His softly written language, so eloquent, pleads to be read again and again. On each reading you will see more detail in the illustrations and link more with the verbal text. For this reason I do not want to describe too much, for to read and discover the links is to have ownership of this story. The large format, with various perspectives portrayed, makes you feel as though you are part of the story. The extract from John Updike’s A Soft Spring Night in Shillington, appearing in the front matter of the book, integrates beautifully with the narrative, providing young readers with an introduction to the rich language of literature. I have always been a fan of Bob Graham’s work and just love this new book. It would make a lovely present for a young family and will be a staple addition to library collections for the young.
Thank you to Walker Books for supplying this book for review.