Abigail and the Birth of the Sun by Matthew Cunningham, Illustrated by Sarah Wilkins
Abigail is a little girl with big questions. Tonight, one question in particular has captured her attention: where do the sun and planets come from? Luckily for Abigail, her dad is there to help. He has a story to tell that will not only explain the science of how the world began, but will deliver it with the poignancy and beauty of a fairy tale. As Abigail’s dad explains, everything, Abigail included, is made of stardust.
The book’s illustrations utterly and completely steal the show. In the fantastical world created by artist Sarah Wilkins, Abigail’s bedtime story about the beginning of the universe becomes a romp across beautiful landscapes covered with flowers and into the colourful and awe-inspiring whirls and swirls of the cosmos. The pictures are deceptively intricate, drawn with breathtaking fluidity. These make Abigail, her dad, her mum and her black cat come alive. Children will love looking at them. Wilkins captures not just the fiery yellows and oranges of the smouldering stars, but also deep greens, purples and blues of the earth down below. I loved the sunflowers, the lilies, the cobwebs, and Abigail’s astronaut teddy bear. Wilkins introduces new elements to the written story, including a friendly black cat.
Abigail and the Birth of the Sun is a magical wee book and the author’s first published picture book. Matthew Cunningham has dedicated it to his own daughter Abigail. It is a perfect bedtime book to share, and a worthy addition to any bookshelf. It is a short and easy-to-follow read, made more appealing by its combinaton of pleasure and education. All children will be enthralled by this picture book. Look out for Abigail’s next adventure, as the last page lets on that she has more questions that will need answering…
Reviewer: Susannah Whaley
Picture Puffin, $19.99