Kids’ Book Review: Review: The Concrete Garden


Multi-awarding
winning author/illustrator Bob Graham has released another soul-stirring
picture book: The Concrete Garden.
His teetering piles of published books include,
April Underhill, Toothfairy, Home in the Rain, The Posey Ring and Ellie’s Dragon

This
time it’s a gentle post-pandemic story set in an urban apartment block, at the
end of COVID lockdown. Adults wear masks and children spill out from the
apartment ‘like sweets from a box.’ Amanda brings the chalks and the desire to
draw something. The narrative evolves as the concrete artwork grows.

Using
carefully chosen words, the narrative offers layers of meaning. For instance,
my three-year-old was captivated by the unfolding chalk drawing. Whereas my
five-year-old felt the emotions of the story more keenly. Graham has expertly
blended the themes of community spirit, optimism, and the power of creativity.

Graham’s
mixed media illustrations, including washes of watercolour and delicate ink
drawings support and enrich the narrative by conveying the mood. He has played
with angles and viewpoints to provide readers with a fresh and dynamic look at
the urban environment and also provided subtle representations of cultural
diversity. 

The Concrete Garden will resonate with
those who experienced the pandemic, especially those who were separated from
loved ones. A hopeful story that will inspire rich conversations about the
experiences of COVID lockdown.

What
can I say, Bob Graham you’ve done it again! I think I’ll go get some chalk out
and draw on the concrete with the kids.

Title: The Concrete Garden
Author/Illustrator: Bob Graham
Publisher: Walker Books Australia, $27.99
Publication Date: 1 August 2023
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781529512649
For ages: 3-7
Type: Picture Book



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