CBCA Nominations, 2015 – Review – Fire by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley


This book has been nominated in the Picture Book category, so it is being judged on the pictures chiefly, and the illustrator is rewarded. The words from Jackie French are like a poem in itself, a common narrative in Australian Summers. Bruce Whatley never fails. He can tell a story with his pictures like very few people can. These images are all too familiar to us in Australia. Again, we have sadness, grief, devastation, but it does have a positive ending. The cycle of life and the land is portrayed in all of its ups and downs. On some pages you are frightened to touch the paper, as the fire looks so real. You can almost smell the smoke too. On one page, the painting of a little boy in tears makes you want to reach out and dry them.

The softness of some images are contrasted with the harshness of others. Bruce and Jackie have gone from Flood to Fire. This is a masterpiece.




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