The Most Amazing Thing
Ian Hayward Robinson
A & U Children, 2024
32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
It’s wet. gloomy, indoors day ad Henry is stuck inside with nothing to do. His dad is tinkering with his telescope, his sister is doing an experiment, his brother is meditating and his mother is working on her novel. None of these were activities to include Henry, and so he asks his mum for a suggestion.
“Why don’t you draw me the most amazing thing?” she suggests.
But what is the most amazing thing. Henry is baffled and all the other family members have a different answer. Is it life, like his sister says? Is it the universe like his dad says? Or is it the mind like his brother says? Or is it something else entirely? So, at the risk of disturbing his mum again, he asks her… and she gives him the most amazing answer.
Little people often have big questions and this is an intriguing way to introduce them to the idea of wondering and imagining, as it would be so easy to have them ask Henry’s question and draw their responses before the story is finished. Are they as bamboozled as Henry? Do they draw what his mum suggests? Why does each draw something different? Can there be many answers to the same question, whether it’s the one posed by Henry’s mum or something else? What is perspective and what role does that play? Do all questions have answers?
Author Ian Hayward Robinson was a tutor in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne and taught Philosophy of Education at Coburg Teachers College and so it seems appropriate that his first picture book for children opens up so many questions for little ones to consider and explore.