The Sam & Lucy Fables by Alan Bagnall and Sarah Wilkins, Makaro Press
The first thing that strikes me about this little book is that it looks and feels friendly. The stories are very short, there’s lots of white space on the pages, and the illustrations are frequent and eye-catching. The cover flaps are classy, the thickness of the soft cover is reassuring, the interior pages are also of high quality, and the framed cover picture by Sarah Wilkins is enticing. There are even some interesting end-papers…
Alan Bagnall keeps up the classiness (quirkiness?) with his humorous allegorical tales focusing on two very smart pigs. Sam and Lucy provide a childlike but sensible logic that solves the problems of a bunch of silly humans. How do you teach fish to read when your book keeps disintegrating? Why, you use a plastic Ready to Read book, of course. (NB. And that’s why fish swim in schools).
Sarah Wilkins’ colourful illustrations are done in a cosy, relaxed style that suits the tone of the stories perfectly.
BTW, if you’re wondering where you’ve heard these names before, Alan Bagnall is a poet and writer with many stories published in the School Journal and the Ready to Read series. He and Sarah produced the picture book called The Immigrants (Mallinson Rendell) which won the 2003 LIANZA Russell Clark Award. Sarah is an experienced illustrator whose work also features in the delightful A Book is a Book (Gecko Press) written by Jenny Bornholdt.
I can heartily recommend this handy little book for primary school libraries and classrooms.
ISBN 9780994129987 RRP $25 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman