Night lights by Inda Ahmad Zahri & Lesley McGee

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A bright enticing cover invites the reader into the world of fireflies in a traditional Malaysian village. Here the grandfather lights the lamp and takes his grandchildren on a journey around the garden where the fireflies light their world, hoping to attract a mate.

With bright, vivacious illustrations, readers’ eyes will be drawn across each page to take in the breathtaking detail, the lights attracting the exclamations of delight.

The value of family is unmistakable as the grandparents care for the group of children, encouraging their daytime play in the forests watching monkeys and playing, but at night when the shadows fall, they sit on the verandah listening to grandfather's stories of when he was a policeman. He scares them a little with his stories, but sometimes he takes them on a night walk where they see the fireflies, until Grandmother comes out with a lamp calling them to bed. And they fall asleep, contented.

A charming tale of life in Malaysia includes the many words for the granpdparents, nods to their food and its preparation, hints of a child’s life far from the city.

I love the images of light represented: city lights with a mobile phone shown, to those in the country where the house relies on a spluttering generator which causes the house lights to flicker and eventually stop. Then Grandfather brings out the oil lamps by which light they travel into the garden, there to spy the fireflies, the older ones with white light, while the younger ones colours. And beneath it all is the warmth of fmaily, the grandparents caring for their five grandchildren, allowing them freedom to play in the forests, but calling them in at night.

Little Pink Dog Books is a newish publishing venture from Armidale (NSW) and began in 2016 to encourage new and emerging authors. See more about them here.

Themes: Malaysia, Grandparents, Shadows, Light, Fireflies.

Fran Knight