Review Blog

Mar 13 2012

Show day by Penny Matthews

cover image

Ill. by Andrew McLean. Omnibus, 2012. ISBN 978 1 86291 689 0.
Highly recommended. Picture book. When the day of the show arrives, every member of Lil's family is represented, each having submitted something for judging. Dad has made marmalade, Lil has helped her mother with a beautiful birthday cake, Henry has his pet guinea pig, Bart, entered in the Best Pet competition, and the family rooster, the grumpy Albert has been entered in the Poultry Section. Lil is up early the morning of the big day to prepare her cow, Goldie. She must wash her down, drying her off with old towels, ready to be judged at the show, and Lil is convinced that Goldie will win a prize.
The beguiling water colour illustrations by Andrew McLean show us a family working together for the big day. I love the double page illustration of the family setting off, with the sun's rays just shading the sky before it appears, the car packed to the top of the roof rack with their entries, the cow in the trailer behind, the family smiling and eagerly looking forward to their big day out. The country show is lovingly portrayed, full of life and colour, movement and sounds.
As each of their entrants is judged, we hear that not all win, some come second, some do not rate at all, while Dad, coming last in the wood chopping event, gets a loud cheer of encouragement from the audience. The day is not about winning or losing, but being involved, participating as a family, being with friends and having a good time. The little twist at the end rounds off a delightful story, well told and enticingly illustrated.
Fran Knight

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