I have been reading Pamela Allen books for as long as I can remember, her picture books are amazing and she is a favourite author of many Australian children and adults. Her books are engaging and sometimes funny, with familiar titles such as Who Sank the Boat? The Mr McGee books, and the popular (and very funny) Belinda. The newest addition to her collection, A Bag and a Bird features familiar places to children who live in Australia or have visited Sydney. This retelling of a true story is another Pamela Allen masterpiece, where taking care of our environment is highlighted through the story of a bird and a plastic bag.
A Bag and a Bird by Pamela Allen
Published by Penguin Random House|Viking
Date: 28 August 2017
John pulled on his hat. He made his own sandwiches and put them in a plastic bag. He put them in a plastic bag in his backpack with a bottle of water and an apple.
‘I’m ready,’ he said.
The story begins with John and his mamma preparing for a picnic at the Botanic Gardens just across from the Harbour Bridge in Sydney. They walked past iconic Sydney surroundings and ate yummy sandwiches they prepared earlier. It was when the plastic bag caught in the wind and became attached to the Ibis that the chaos occurs.
The bag became its parachute. Slowly, down, down, down it went, into the water.
The book continues talking about how the Ibis struggles under the weight of the plastic bag and is close to drowning. This is handled in a child friendly way and I am happy to report that all ends well for the bird in the end.
Allen has smartly written about how rubbish such as plastic bags can be harmful to our environment including animals such as the Ibis in this story. Teaching tiny humans about this from a young age through a picture book is a smart way for them to learn and take in the information. What I particularly like about how this book is written, is the words flow through the story without stating words such as Environmental impact or bad for the environment. It is not written from the point of an activist but is simply the telling of a story of truth in a friendly, and engaging way. Allen has kept it at a level children understand by talking about how the bird is in danger and struggling, and how the people around it were able to help.
Pamela Allen’s writing is as beautiful as always, each word seamlessly flowing into sentences. Although each of Pamela Allen’s stories are unique, this book is in her familiar style of clean, yet detailed illustrations that make it very recognisable as one of hers. There is something comforting about the likeness of illustrations in each of Allen’s books. It’s like visiting an old friend but learning something new as you read each book.
A Bag and a Bird is bound to be added to your list of favourite Pamela Allen books and I urge you to grab a copy and read it. Drop a comment above and let me know if you have or when you do read it and what it means to you and your child.
Thank you to Penguin Random House|Viking for the opportunity read and review this book.