Tug of War Words and Illustration by Naomi Howarth
Published by Allen & Unwin Quarto Group
Date: 26 July 2017
The colours draw you into the story on those first few pages of the book, the shades of green give you the feeling of being out among the trees and plants in the garden, the tortoise face a beautiful rosy complexion whose eyes show an old but warm and happy soul. The colours and illustrations continue to amaze as I turn the pages, each majestic and beautiful creature brought to life by the artist ability to bring us the African Jungle through her artistic ability.
As we meet Tortoise on a beautiful day with the sun high in the sky by the African river, he decides it is time to make a new friend. Unfortunately, the first animal he meets is Elephant who believes that he is a small, old stupid Tortoise. These hurtful words make Tortoise feel very sad. Unfortunately this happens again to Tortoise, making him feel like he is stupid. At his lowest point he is reminded by bird that he is smart, so Tortoise begins to think until he comes up with a plan which ends in the most amazing way.
I believe that in a society where there is a lot of bullying, even for very young children that this book is a wonderful resource to share with them – preschool and school aged. It is a beautiful message to children that we are all different and have our own gifts and abilities. That being strong doesn’t mean you are better than someone who is smart, and that the best of friends usually have many differences but share their abilities with each other.
The writer/illustrator Naomi Howarth is a clearly gifted in writing picture books and I hope we see so much more of what she has to share in the future.
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.