Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year, 2001Winner of the Best Children's Book category in the 2001 Queensland Premier's Literary AwardsWinner of the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature in the 2001 NSW Pr
Margaret Wild is one of Australia's most highly respected and popular children's authors. She was born in South Africa and emigrated to Australia in 1972. Margaret has worked as a journalist and an editor of children's books, and is now writing full-time. Since her first book in 1984, Margaret has published over 40 books and has won numerous awards. Ron Brooks is one of the biggest names in Australian picture books.
Gr 3 Up-The simplicity of presentation belies the sophistication of this allegorical tale that demonstrates the tremendous power of caring and friendship. Dog, blinded in one eye, finds Magpie, whose wing has been burned in a forest fire. He carries her to his cave, but she is distraught and bitter because she can no longer fly. Dog is a true and patient friend and an optimist, and his encouragement lifts the bird's spirits. ("I will be your missing eye, and you will be my wings," Magpie declares.) Enter dashing, flattering Fox, full of "rage and envy and loneliness," who attempts to destroy the friendship by luring Magpie away. In this short tale, Wild conveys some of the stages of human grief-anger, depression, and withdrawal and, finally, acceptance. Brooks's dramatic illustrations perfectly suit the text. Thick, textured paint in shades of brown, peachy beige, and bluish gray, detailed in black line and frequent scratchboardlike technique, sets off the rich, fiery tone of Fox's fur and allows readers to sense the excitement and danger that his presence engenders in Magpie. The text is hand lettered in large, childish print, sometimes on pasted paper scraps. Use the book with younger children to prompt discussions of both friendship and loss; use it with older students as a fine example of allegory and outstanding artistic presentation.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In this powerful story about friendship, betrayal and courage, the language is beautifully spare and the illustrations are vibrant and haunting. The text, written with scratchy pen, creates an edgy atmosphere... Brooks's images grow out of Wild's careful language, and are perfectly in tune. The position of the spidery text sets the pace and tone of the story, and there is a strong sense of place, with rich, vegetable-like colours. The paper's surface is streaked and gouged with brush lines, scratches, and finely etched drawings. The animals, though stylized, are also thoroughly real. -- Julia Eccleshare 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up The scratchy sideways text adds to the wild elemental feel of the book, with its breathtaking earthy palette. A one-eyed dog rescues a crippled bird; sitting astride his back as he runs she becomes his eyes and he her wings. But then Fox comes to join themm in their cave and fills it with a 'smell of rage and envy and loneliness'. A masterpiece. Sunday Telegraph Try it, discover a classic, for this is undoubtedly an exceptional masterpiece. School Librarian This is a memorable example of the picture-book form. Ground-breaking and courageous, it has been translated into many languages. Although it is not a 'fun' read, both children andadults will be drawn into this compelling tale of friendship, loyalty, risk and betrayal. Ibby Link
Wild (Nighty Night) departs from her playful characters of recent books for this haunting look at friendship and cruelty, geared to older readers. After Dog saves Magpie from a fire and nurses her burnt wing, the two forge a powerful bond. The one-eyed dog and the flightless bird travel together across a charred, leafless landscape, with Magpie feeling the wind in her feathers as she rides on Dog's back. "Fly, Dog, fly! I will be your missing eye, and you will be my wings." The mood changes quickly, however, when Fox enters his sleek, orange body curled around one side of a spread and sets Magpie on edge ("His smell seems to fill the cave a smell of rage and envy and loneliness"). The tension Wild invokes in juxtaposing their disparate emotions creates a disquieting feeling that Brooks (Rosie and Tortoise) mirrors in his artwork, especially in close-ups of the characters' eyes. His hand-lettered text (resembling a child's shaky penmanship) appears in oddly positioned blocks, with some flipped vertically against the page edges and gutter. The stark illustrations, in mixed media and collage, expose the characters' raw emotions with brusque hash marks in thick applications of mostly dark paint. Only when Fox cons Magpie into switching her allegiance and traveling with him do readers discover the depth of Fox's alienation. The tale ends on a tenuously hopeful note, and the images from this unsettling, provocative story will resonate long after the book has been closed. Ages 6-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.