Welcome to The Chatterbox Cat, number nine of Robyn Goodwin’s Backyard Tales.
These are books for the very young and they really entertain kids from round about two years of age.
(Wait a minute, how old is the person writing this piece? Don’t ask.)
Still, the truth is that text and the full page illustrations mix to entertain anyone who gazes with wonder at this world experienced by our multi-species fellow travellers.
Take a look at the image facing the text:
A child’s gaze cannot avoid necessary tracking across the sleeping rabbit, over-alert chickens flanking a proud-loud rooster, white mice keeping warm up close to the kerosene lamp plonked on top of a weathered barrel. This compositional complexity is close to that of, say, a Pieter Bruegel painting of peasants getting on with it.
Further along the way we encounter feline pedagogues, snails offering advice just when it is or isn’t needed, and an upset owl on a moonshine night out there.
These are Backyard Tales of which this and the previous Bella Blue Heeler’s Wacky Dream have been presented in a larger format (more than three times the size). This has allowed Robyn Goodwin’s visual imagination to reach out for more.
As well it has introduced backyard pictures that let us see what’s in her own backyard (complete with aged VW).
These creatures ring as true as they do because outside the author’s backdoor there’s a universe. The backyard images are tagged Molly Wombat’s Hole, Foxy Wallaby Lives Here etc and so on.
A magical journey. Toddlers through to the doddery are transported to a fresh world by what’s accumulated on these pages. Brilliant.
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