Matthews, T. (2014). So many wonderfuls. Newtown, Australia: Walker Books.
There is no denying that So Many Wonderfuls is a beautiful book. The story centres on a small town, nestled between hills and the ocean, and the people and places that inhabit it. However, it is the aesthetics of the book, rather than the story, that really make it stand out.
The layout of the book is consistent throughout, with four lines of text on one page and a full page illustration on the facing page. The illustrations consist of a muted colour palette and alternate between a ‘wide shot’ of the town and a ‘close up’ of a specific place. The sepia tones of the ‘wide shots’ brings to mind an old-fashioned nostalgia and evoke a feeling of fondness for the unnamed town; while the landmark that will be given the ‘close up’ treatment is highlighted with colour.
The ‘close up’ illustrations are tinted with muted pastels, which also contribute to the nostalgic feel of the book. There is great detail in each picture, which could draw out a lot of discussion with children; while the recurring characters of an elderly lady and a pig are able to be found on each page.
The text, however, does not appear to work as well. The rhyme scheme that is used is a little unusual, and probably doesn’t suit the text layout; the AB rhyme on one page rhymes with the AB on the next, making the text feel disjointed. There also doesn’t appear to be a consistent rhythm throughout the lines of text. The pages that work the best have a more natural rhythm and make good use of alliteration.
The are so many wonderfuls about this books – I just wish there had been more.
I got my copy of So Many Wonderfuls from Napier Libraries.