Ash dresses her friends
New Frontier, 2018
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Ash, the azure-winged magpie is feeling lonely. Unlike the brash. bold magpies that Australian children are familiar with, she lacks confidence amongst her feathered friends who assume she is shy and so is left out of conversations at bird gatherings. She desperately wishes she had someone to play with.
When a sad elephant comes along who wants a new shirt, Ash has an idea that will cheer him up. Producing an almost unending blot of fabric she makes him a bold red and white shirt that is so admired by other creatures that they also want new clothes. Suddenly she has all sorts of friends, not just those like her. But when the fabric runs out after she makes a quilt for a snail, she is alone again. Were her new “friends” just there for what she as to give them?
Set against a background of fifty shades of grey, bold red is the only contrast colour used in the illustrations symbolising the luck, joy and happiness that the Chinese believe it to hold, acknowledging the heritage of the author.
Young children who may feel overwhelmed in the presence of those older and bolder than they are may well draw some comfort from this story which shows that we can find friends everywhere, even in unexpected ways, and that true friends are those who give as well as take.
Teachers’ notes are available