Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Children’s Book Review, The Thank You Dish

Reviewed by Susan Stephenson,

The Thank You Dish is a children’s picture book by Trace Balla, published by Allen and Unwin (2017.) RRP: $Au 19.99 HB. I have previously reviewed Balla’s Rockhopping.

From the publisher:

A story about gratitude, community and eating locally, from a bestselling picture-book maker.

It's dinnertime at Grace's place.

'Thank you, alpaca,' says Grace.

'Alpaca?' asks Mama. 'Why would you thank an alpaca?'

It’s so lovely to find children’s books that encourage kids to think about how much they have to be grateful for. Balla shows us a dinnertime conversation between Mama and Grace, where Grace mentions those who in some way contributed to the meal, and thanks them. There’s lots of repetition, meaning younger readers can predict some of the text. Though the story is simple enough to share with kids under 5, I believe it will also work with older children as a focus for discussion about being thankful, or as a resource on community and environment.

The more I see of Balla’s art work, the more I love it. Even the endpapers are fascinating, studded with tiny detailed silhouettes of homes, people and animals against a sunset sky. There are colourful double page illustrations, as well as cameos, and little detailed sketches to connect the cameos, all in Balla’s child-like and beautiful style.

The Thank You Dish would be great paired with For All Creatures, by Glenda Millard and Rebecca Cool. Children could look at the the similar themes, but very different way of expressing them. They could compare the two styles of illustration. They could also look at the language and sentence structure and think about why the writers chose them.

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