Jacaranda Magic by Dannika Patterson
Ill. by Megan Forward. Ford St Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781925804003
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Jacaranda, Playing, Imagination, Friendship. When ﬁve friends loll about on a hot, sticky summer's day beneath the Jacaranda tree, wishing for something to do, the ﬂowers from the tree fall around them, offering a lifeline to their imaginations. They clamber up the tree, imagining it to be a boat, one of them the captain, looking out for mermaids, then the branch becomes a rocket taking them off into space, the ﬂowers become fairies for them to chase, butterﬂies to set free.
The worlds created by the children using the tree as the stepping off point to imagined possibilities will delight young readers as they too see what can be made of the tree and its branches, leaves and ﬂowers. I can imagine them seeing the trees in their backyards, schools and neighbourhoods with fresh eyes, willing the ﬂowers to fall upon them, initiating their imaginations just like the children in the story. And then climbing the trees, practising their physical prowess, encouraging outdoor activities.
With simple rhyming pairs of lines, Patterson has created a charming storyline, one which will entice readers to predict the rhyme as they listen to the story.
The watercolour illustrations, extol the colour purple, so well known in Australian gardens, common to many suburbs with long streets of these beautiful trees, people sharing photos in facebook when they are in bloom. Using the purple ﬂowers as a trigger for the children's imaginations is sure to focus younger readers on the beauty that surrounds them, encouraging them to take a moment to look at things more closely.