Susannah McFarlane (author)
Lachlan Creagh (illustrator)
Scholastic Australia: August 2011
Genres: picture book
Issues: choices, friendship
Mia is a mega-messy Magpie who creates mayhem wherever she goes. When her favourite marble goes missing, Mia is very upset. 'She mooched and moped amongst the magnolias.' With the help of her friends, Mia finds her marble and learns that a little bit of method is a good idea for a dedicated collector such as herself.
Susannah McFarlane's alphabet series is notable for the way it celebrates the rich possibilities of the English language, using wide-ranging vocabulary that moves from multi-syllabled adjectives to colloquial words and expressions. Adult readers will delight in the alliterative, rhythmic sentences as much as their listeners do. These are stories where the language lingers on the tongue. Children will want to learn and repeat the new words and phrases in order to enjoy the repetitive letter sounds.
As always, Lachlan Creagh's illustrations encourage the reader to move beyond the text. He has a remarkable ability to create individual characters with minute changes of line. Each magpie in this book, for example, has a unique expression, projecting dismay, disapproval, resignation or amusement at Mia's cluttering. Such lively watercolour images deserve a full size picture book but toddlers will enjoy the 14 x 14cm square books because they fit easily in small hands.
Be prepared to read books from this series over and over again!
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