Little Hare, 2017
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
It’s a scene familiar to many children. The removalists are carrying the lounge chairs, the television, the boxes of books and all the family’s other possessions out to their big truck. It is time to say goodbye to this house that has been home for so long. But while Jacob and bigger sister Rosie are visiting familiar places and saying a sad goodbye to the empty sandpit, the treehouse, and long-gone Blossom the bunny, younger sister Clare says nothing and does nothing. And then she disappears…
The house is finally cleared and still there is no sign of Clare and so Jacob and Rosie search every empty room for her until, at last, there she is…
Leaving a home that is loved and familiar and so much a part of who we are because of its memories can be tough – it can be a sad thing to say goodbye or it could be s cause for celebration as we thank it for all it has given us. Which way did Clare choose? Just as we express our happiness in different, unique ways so do we express our sadness and sometimes it’s not always through tears.
Identified as a 2018 CBCA Notable, for both the Early Childhood and Picture Book categories this is a sensitive, poignant story that will resonate with many children. Anna Pignataro has captured the mood of the words perfectly with Clare’s forlorn figure a grey contrast against the brighter but subdued background until the last few pages when she comes into her own. The mood is emphasised as she portrays the children’s feelings of desolation about leaving in a predominantly grey and empty world, while the busyness of the adults is depicted with clutter and colour, with a variety of flowers showing that while sometimes they are dull and seemingly lifeless, there is beauty and brightness in the world as they bloom.
A magic pairing of author and illustrator who clearly bring personal experience to the page to make a story that can touch so many.