Glitch by Michelle Worthington
Ill. by Andrew Plant. Ford St Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925272710
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Recycling. STEM. Friendship. Building. Glitch and June live on a rubbish heap. Glitch collects all sort of spare parts from the rubbish and builds the most amazing billycarts, ready for June to race. But he is a worrier. He twitches about minor things but these end up with June losing the race. One year he forgot to check the brakes, one year he turned left instead of right and one year he led June onto a big rock. Consequently they have never won a race. On their first test tun for this year's race, they have an accident and June's antennae are bent. She can not drive without them so tells Glitch that it is up to him. This makes him twitchier than ever, and when June comes to collect him the next day he gives an assortment of excuses not to drive. But she perseveres, and encourages him, telling him that no matter what happens, they will always be friends. The competition is fierce and as they round the finishing line, they lose by a nose. But coming second is no problem, says June, because they will win next year.
This is a charming tale of friendship and all it entails, understanding, sympathy, encouragement, companionship and so on, as June displays the very best of what a friend brings to a relationship. She is not judgmental, instead encouraging her friend to do his best, and offering an alternate goal.
Plant's illustrations are wonderful, with the mess of a rubbish dump crowded around the bugs as they delve into the mass of thrown out bits and pieces. Plant skillfully displays their characters in a merest twinkle of an eye or twitch of an antenna, and the billycarts made up from the stuff thrown away will encourage readers to rethink the things that are discarded, and perhaps look anew at what is thrown out from the classroom and at home.
Discussions about the rubbish tip could produce some interesting results, not the least of which could be to make something from recycled materials. I loved working out what rubbish had been used to make the billycarts, and I'm sure readers will too, and watch out for the different methods of construction used by Glitch.