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Author: Donna Jo Napoli and Elena Furrow

Illustrator: Bronwyn Bancroft

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Bloomsbury,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Ally and her mother are off for a month's visit to Australia. The youngster takes her art supplies along so she can capture the animals she sees during her stay. While on vacation Ally meets Pauline, a Aboriginal woman who happens to be an artist. Pauline expands the young American's horizons and shows her that art isn't always created with paint and paper. This eBook tells the story of a little girl trying to understand her pet's death.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 4 to 9

Reading Level: 2.8

Age of Child: Read to a second grade class.

Young Reader Reaction: Our group of second graders were ambivalent about the story but thought the art was "cool."

Adult Reader Reaction: My teacher friend and I thought the artwork in the book was stronger than the narrative.

Pros: Everyone will enjoy the artwork in this book. The native artist's work was fun and different.

Cons: Although native animals are mentioned and pictured, not much is said about them. The small type wasn't a great idea and the overall story is just OK not great!

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. I'd borrow this from library first and then purchase a copy if my child liked it.


Educational Themes: This book deals with creativity, imagination, and a child's ability to see a different way of painting. The author shows us the animals she sees without using paper and that mistakes can often be salvaged and turned into something "creative."

Notes: Bob Walch, Monterey, California, sent us this review. Bob's reviews appear in the Salinas Californian, Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, Aptos Times, Ride/Western Times and Coast Views Magazine. His online are at MyShelf, Roundtable Reviews, Parent Click, Midwest Book Review, and I Love a Mystery.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, family, nature, death and loss

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2009

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