Wilbur's Walk by Rebecca Nash
Wilbur and his Mama walk Wally the dog by the sea. As Wally chases the pinecone and Wilbur's buggy bounces, the birds begin to appear, firstly chattering and chirpring and gossiping and philosophising.
Author Rebecca Nash wrote this story when her daughter was a toddler. She uses children's speak, imbuing the story with toddler logic and ways of speaking.
Then she teamed up with her brother, Daniel Nash, to create the illustrations.
The result is a dreamy, imaginative tale of a walk that showcases small struggles, small triumphs and big love. The text and illustrations work perfectly together, both full of imagination and creativity. They worked together to create a dreamlike escape from reality, riffing off the whimsical nature of childhood.
However, I'm not too sure who the intended audience is for Wilbur's Walk. It's almost a piece of art, rather than a picture book for children. My younger readers were a little put off by the illustrations. While they brim with colour and detail, they are perhaps just a little too abstract for my early and middle primary kids. The text too went a little over their heads - while they could certainly relate to some of it, more of it felt pitched towards me as an adult, reminding me of how it felt to be deep in the fug of early parenthood.
Wilbur's Walk is a unique story brimming with imagination and creativity. It was, for me at least, more of an art piece than a picture book.
Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell
Mary Egan Publishing, RRP $25