Review Blog

Aug 14 2015

Lara of Newtown by Chris McKimmie

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760112325
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Themes: Cats, Pets, Family Life. Chris McKimmie's picture book is a simple story of a cat looking for a new home after Nana Banana can't look after Misty anymore. The cat's search for a new home is problematic, from the drama of Noni Nice's Christmas celebrations to homelessness, then happiness as the Kafoopses adopt her and welcome Lara into their family.
In contrast to the uncomplicated storyline the illustrations are complex and multilayered, employing an amazing array of artistic styles and techniques. Lara is a pencil and ink sketch inspired by a young family member, her emotive facial expressions show her journey from sadness to happiness. Chris McKimmie's busy peoplescapes are filled with quirky, oddball and eccentric characters and situations, there is much to discover on each spread. Backgrounds are flooded with tonal colours, oil pastels, watercolours, gouache and acrylics all add interest to this unconventional tale. Font styles, sizes, colors change as well, keeping the reader engaged with the narrative.
Lara of Newtown is an exciting new adventure for Chris McKimmie fans, one to be explored, shared with family, discussed with interest as this book stretches the reader's imagination.
Rhyllis Bignell

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