The hush treasure book: stories, poems and pictures from your favourite storytellers

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Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760112790
(Age: 5-10) Warmly recommended. Collection, Short stories, poetry, Music, Hospitals. The Hush Music Foundation aims to bring music into children's hospitals, helping children cope with the stress of being away from their families, in a strange place. Begun by Dr Catherine Crock, she collected a number of musicians together to donate their time and abilities to produce a series of CD's. These are now augmented with a book of short stories and poems, written and illustrative by well known Australian authors and illustrators.
Several of the stories include medical themes designed to make children laugh. The elephant bird by Tohby Riddle makes its appearance early on in the book, making the readers laugh out loud at the strange story. After this is Alison Lester's remarkable Flying home, which will carry a child back to his home before he goes to sleep in hospital.
The long shadow by Bob Graham evokes sympathy for a dog nearing the end of its days, loved and protected by hits owner, while My shadow by Karen Briggs and Paul Seden takes the reader outside to playing with his shadow.
Several longer stories will pique the interest of older readers, Ghost motel by Michael Camilleri and Jackie French and Grandma's treasure by Victoria Rohan and Jane Tanner, while Shaun Tan's enigmatic Ward will have children reading and rereading to develop a sense of what it is about.
This collection with a music CD tucked into its back cover will help children in hospital sit and read and be engrossed in a story or poem, music or illustration, allowing their minds to seek another place during their stay.
I loved Nothing to be scared of by Doug Macleod and Craig Smith, reading it as possums scampered across my roof, and the last offering in the bookFree to fly by Bruce Whatley, evoking the peace and freedom of being outside. Each offering in this book presents another place where children would like to be if only for a little while, away from where they must be for the time being.
Fran Knight