Saturday, September 5, 2009

Children's Authors - Alison Lester

This week's author is prolific author and illustrator Alison Lester - yet another talented Australian.

She has a great series based around 7 children. We have enjoyed When Frank Was Four, Celeste Sails to Spain, Ernie Dances to the Didgeridoo & Tessa Snaps Snakes.

These ones have appealed between ages 2-6. Children like to see what happens to each child and how they are different.

When Frank Was Four goes through each age and what each child did:
When Frank was four, he ate three packets of fruity fish.
Nicky cut off her plait.
Tessa dressed up the cat.
Ernie started to wear glasses.
Clive took off his training wheels.
And Rosie's pony arrived on Christmas morning.
But Celeste danced in her first ballet and received a standing ovation.
Others of the series talk about what each child likes, or what their adventures were, or where they have been - it's just lovely.

Lester also has written and illustrated Are we there yet? which is the story of their family trip of around Australia. This one is better for older kids (4+) as it requires some attention to read it through, but it is a treat.

It says on the inside flap of this book that it took a decade to reach publication - you can understand why considering all the illustrations - but it was worth it!

Another one which we have just found at the library is Imagine. Children are pretending to be in different parts of the world, and then there is a detailed scene showing all the animals that would be there. There is a key at the back to help you find them all correctly - for kids that are interested in animals this would be a winner. Younger children (2-4) will like looking at the pictures, but older children will be keen to try to find and name all the animals correctly. And if the illustrations for Are we there yet? took a long time, I cannot imagine how long these took!

She obviously has a real sense of the imagination that children have, as many of her books emphasise that. I'm Green and I'm Grumpy! is all about a game of dress-ups and what everyone wants to pretend to be. The illustrations show so well the ways that kids can make anything around the house into a toy or dress-up. The ending is lovely too!

However, in my opinion, I have saved the best for last - Magic Beach. Again, based around imagination, she talks times at the beach and then the ways kids can turn it into an imaginary adventure:
At our beach,
at our magic beach,
we play in the sand for hours,
digging and building,
with buckets and spade,
invincible castles and towers.
(illustration is a normal beach scene)

The king and the queen are trapped in the moat
a dragon is spitting out flames.
Princess Belinda is charging the beast
to rescue little Prince James.
(illustration is the imaginary scene)

This is a truly wonderful book, the poetry flows beautifully and the illustrations are fantastic. This book was our first introduction to Alison Lester, and now we get whatever we can find of hers whenever we are at the library.

All images copyright ©Alison Lester 2008 and sourced from her website.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

I LOVE Magic beach - was going to blog about it today!! We're going through a phase of reading it every single day at the moment (by children's request). It is such a gorgeous book, isn't it!