Libby Gleeson’s books have a special place on the bookshelves in our house because of the way her stories transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. I have recently added Look, A Book! Look A Book! has been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council Of Australia in the picture book section. I went and collected her other books from the various bookshelves scattered throughout the house and sat down for a quiet Sunday afternoon of reading and remembering.
Shutting in the Chooks gave them a hero they could cheer on as he raced to find the missing chook, saving her from the villainous fox. I suspect they were enjoying the vicarious experience of fear from the safety of the armchair; similar to an adult watching Hitchcock’s Birds.
As these books were moved from their shelves to mine to make way for their changing literature interests, I added a few more that supported my work with students. Some to explore world issues such as The Great Bear which, with its sombre illustrations and stirring text, opened the door to discussions of animal cruelty.
Others supported values education, Amy and Louis is an example of how friendships can survive change. It is also a wonderful book to use when studying visual literacy as is An Ordinary Day. Both reinforce how the illustrations tell so much about the emotions and thoughts of the characters. An Ordinary Day reminds us of how we all have grey day experiences but our imagination can change that.