Reviewed by Antonella Townsend
Well, I do not care that Harper Collins classifies this large beautiful book as ‘Juvenile: Age 3+’. It will be gracing my coffee table for some time to come. That said, note to parents, this is a must for the Christmas Stocking. A lovely present for children, aunties and uncles, alike, or for anyone who is jaded and sad. The story is philosophically uplifting, the illustrations in bold colour equally so.
The author of The Lucky Shack, Apsara Baldovino, has imagined a charming story told from the perspective of an old wooden shack perched above a sandy cove beside the sea. Jennifer Falkner enhances Apsara’s work with illustrations that captivate the eye.
I spend my days watching boats
bob gently under puffy clouds,
on a sparkling sea.
The shack is owned by an old bearded fisherman who lovingly tends to the shack’s maintenance:
I keep myself strong and sturdy,
And he keeps me warm with fires and music.
The illustration of the above is so inviting, an inspiring visual of homeliness. Readers get an idea of the fisherman’s character and how he enjoys his deeply colourful environment. But along comes the inevitable storm and wreaks havoc on the shack.
The shack is alone and sad.
‘Maybe it’s time to say goodbye …’
The wind seems to whisper.
It’s all a bit gloomy, beautiful dark blue pictures of sea, sky and white stars. But a few nights later the shack finds the courage to open the door and let the moon shine in. There is a path through the stars … and … the next day a boat bobs on the horizon.
A fisherwoman appears (I’m guessing, perhaps a relative of the previous fisherman, his daughter maybe). A young girl with tools and bucket of paint, starts to repair the shack. Every week, bit by bit, she brings treasures: books, carpets and pictures. The shack is now a real home, smells of freshly cooked bread, tea and wood burning percolate through the shack. And there’s a cat now!
And then children:
Little boots on my floor!
They read stories by the fire
Play games in my garden,
Etch scribbles into my walls,
And together we watch
Storms come and go.
And that’s the point, storms come and go. And the world is full of beautiful colours again. The good times are back.
by Apsara Baldovino
Illustrated by Jennifer Falkner
ISBN: 978 1 92203 315 4