Lilli-Pilli's sister by Anna Branford

cover image

Ill. by Linda Catchlove. Walker Books, 2014. ISBN 9781921977589.
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Fairies, Birth, Family. With Lili-Pilly's mother about to give birth, Lilli-Pilly is concerned whether the crib they have built will be satisfactory for her new sister, but mother points out that it could be a boy.  So we are invited into the realm of the fairies, see their surroundings, the Australian bush, the Lilly Pilly or Australian Cherry, the gum trees, the naimals, Mum has difficulty opening her wings to fly as her belly is so big and round, and sends Lilly-Pilly off to gather things for the baby, all the while discussing what it might be.
The soft watercolour images augment the words, showing the soft warm colours of the Australian bush, stylised gum trees rise out of the creek bed, an array of insects and birds go about their daily business, and many beautifully drawn flowers and plants fill the pages.
For small children this book not only provides a delicate introduction to the imminent arrival of a sibling, it also gives parents and teachers the chance to engage their charges in discussions about birth and babies, and where they come from.  Within the ambience of the Australian bush, the opportunities offered by this book are wide reaching. Small children and others will thrill at the depiction of the fairy family in their hippy guise, and ponder at the array of small things peering out of the dense scrub. The fairy family's use of found objects in their environment is also a source of wonder from the reader.
Classroom ideas are available.
Fran Knight