Review Blog

Oct 15 2010

The glasshouse by Paul Collins

cover image

Illus. by Jo Thompson. Ford St., 2010. ISBN 978 1921665045.
Picture book. Recommended. Clara lives all alone in a stunning glasshouse, where she grows exquisite pumpkins. She tends the seedlings, watching and nursing them as they grow, knowing that they are the best pumpkins around. They have no blemishes, are perfectly formed, have a beautiful colour and are delicious. Buyers come from everywhere to buy her prefect pumpkins. But one day a boy appears at her door and she follows him outside, only to be amazed that so many of the other glasshouses are smashed and broken.
Frightened by what she has seen, she now spends her time checking her glass for cracks, watching for any disturbance to her perfect world. She makes the buyers take off their shoes, watches them as they mover around her area until they start to go elsewhere.  The boy reappears and shows Clara one of his pumpkins, one that is not quite so perfect. It is misshapen, discoloured and spotty, but tastes just as good as hers. She becomes more insular and worried. Less and less people come to buy her pumpkins and she loses interest in them, causing them to become discoloured and not quite perfect.
A beautiful story of accepting things for what they are, of not expecting everything to be perfect, of acceptance and understanding and of love, is made spectacular with the exuberant, colour filled illustrations that glow on every page.
Fran Knight

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