Review Blog

Jul 11 2013

Scarlett and the scratchy moon by Chris McKimmie

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2013. ISBN 978 1 74331 515 6.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Picture book. Animals. Loss. Scarlett cannot sleep. She has tried counting sheep, but as she can only get to three, this is not of much use. Her pets, Holly and Sparky have died, and the two dogs are pictured sailing away on a boat. Scarlett thinks things are out of kilter. her honey has been stolen, she has clouds in her eyes, and at breakfast time her eggs are too runny. It is so quiet outside that she can hear the swans on the distant lake.
A knock at the door reveals something has come for her, a tiny Rex and Harriet. Happily she goes to bed that night after brushing her teeth, with Harriet and Rex, along with an array of other pets, but the moon is still scratching the sky.
As with his other books, McKimmie fills his pages with drawings and illustrations from his family, using a host of different techniques and equipment. Both family and methods are listed on the publication page, contrasting with the list of family pets listed at the front. The endpapers are also included in the story with the front endpapers showing Scarlett and her pets, while the back endpaper gives us drawings of the pets listed.
His work is endearing, children will love to discover different things on each page, and older readers will enjoy working out just what methods and tools were used to create the drawings which cover the pages. All who read will be reminded of times when they lost pets and sympathise with Scarlett as she deals with her loss. And of course, parents, teachers and readers will all look at the wider implications of what loss means in the family, and how it is part of their lives.
Fran Knight

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