Review Blog

Oct 08 2010

The little drummer boy by Bruce Whatley

cover image

Random House Australia, 2010. ISBN 9781864719901.
(All ages) Picture book. Highly recommended. Annie's grandfather lovingly carves her a little drummer boy from an old table leg to put on the top of the Christmas tree. Annie loves the little drummer boy, who becomes a central part of Christmas, always watching over the celebrations and taking note of the changes in Annie as she ages and more generations of her family come along.
This is a very poignant story using the Christmas traditions that are passed from great grandfather to latest child, to show Annie as she ages, marries, and has children and grand children.
I love the way Whatley portrays the range of people's faces from youth to old age. Annie has very chubby cheeks and glossy hair as a young child, but her expression is always loving. By the time she is a grandmother, her mouth has withered and she is wrinkled and grey, but she still retains her air of kindness and love. Each generation wears clothes and hairstyles that give a hint to the time periods that are being illustrated. Annie's grandfather wears a wonderful grey cap form early in the 20th century and her parents sport very stylish 30's or 40's hairstyles. A captivating detail is the beautiful illustration of the family resemblance between Annie, her daughter and granddaughters.
This book is a keeper. It will be a wonderful read aloud coming up to Christmas and a warm reminder of the closeness and love that family life can bring.
Pat Pledger

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