A Book Is A Book

Jenny Born­holdt/Sarah Wilkins Gecko Press

NZ Today - - ON BOOKS -

What a sweet wee book this is. For it is a book. It even tells us so. And it tells us all of the things a book can be – and all of the things that a book is – my favourite: some books are small be­cause some writ­ers are very tired.

Writ­ten for the whole fam­ily, told through a child’s eyes per­haps, this book ex­ists to do very won­der­ful things: pro­mote read­ing, li­braries, the shar­ing of sto­ries – the shar­ing of a love of read­ing and books. It’s a beau­ti­fully told tale; Born­holdt’s poet’s eye picks out only the right things to say. And Sarah Wilkins’ il­lus­tra­tions help this short tale to re­ally come alive.

A won­der­ful present, a won­der­ful gift to give to your­self (let alone any­one else) – A Book Is A Book does its best to con­vey the magic of get­ting lost in­side a good book; of why we would want to do that; of the ben­e­fits. A Book Is A Book con­veys all of this magic. And con­veys it all through magic.

It’s a slim vol­ume packed full of big con­cepts – you can read this be­gin­ning to end or flip through and find a page to day­dream on. You can read this for the writ­ing or take it in for the pic­tures. Of course you can do both, but the point is this is a book to re­turn to – one that begs you to open and re-open, to bring your sto­ries to it as well as tak­ing away the sto­ries and sug­ges­tions from the worlds that open up in this lovely story.

Born­holdt is one of New Zealand’s great con­tem­po­rary po­ets and though there’s al­ways been a huge el­e­ment of mem­oir in her poetry, here she is able to com­bine that, subtly, with a uni­ver­sal story that sits, wide-eyed, on the page that draws in any reader, old or young.

I can imag­ine par­ents and grand­par­ents read­ing this to chil­dren, but you can just as eas­ily see chil­dren read­ing this back to par­ents and grand­par­ents; the shared smile as reader and au­di­ence take their own story-starters away from this book, this set of ideals, ap­ply­ing them to so many cre­ative en­deav­ours be­yond just read­ing.

A Book Is A Book would make a great teach­ing aid, per­fect ad­di­tion to any class­room, home­work tasks could be set from it – en­gag­ing chil­dren with con­cepts around the art­work, around cre­at­ing their own draw­ings to frame up lines from the book. Or if could be used in­for­mally as a teach­ing aid in the home. Set your child a project from this book – set your­self a project from this book, com­pare notes.

Buy a copy for your house and for any­one you love. This is a won­der­ful lit­tle book.

Si­mon Sweet­man

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