Last year I reviewed Go To Sleep! – a delightful children’s picture book written by Marion Adams and illustrated by the prolific artist Sarah-Leigh Wills. Wills has illustrated a whopping 183 books to date, but her latest will no doubt be a bit more special to her, as it’s the first one she has authored herself.
Aimed at very young children (aged 0-5), the book is centred around an adorable little rabbit called Gillie. She is making cookies with Daddy, and on each turn of the page Daddy asks Gillie to give two cookies to a different member of the family. Gillie then hops off to deliver the cookies. When Mummy, Grandpa and Grandma have been given their cookies, there are two left for Gillie. But as Gillie is the kind, sharing type, she saves one for someone special – the child reading the story!
Everything about this book is gorgeous. Wills has developed a unique style for the illustrations in which the characters appear to be made of felt-style material. As a result, they look slightly 3D, to the point where you half expect them to feel textured when you touch the page. The colours throughout the book – from the bright orange carrot-shaped cookies to the green plasticine hedges – are vibrant and eye-catching, so children that are too young to read the words will still engage with the images.
The story conveys a strong message about the importance of being kind and sharing, but it does so by example rather than being preachy. The font is large and there are only a few words on each of its 24 pages, so this is a book that can be read several times in a row at bedtime (which, let’s face it, is what most toddlers expect!).
The paper and print quality of Gillie Can Share is also noteworthy. The book is printed on thick, glossy paper that not only looks and feels great but will also survive being handled by many grubby little mitts!
I highly recommend Wills’ writing debut to parents of young kids, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series (Wills has already written four more Gillie books which she will be releasing in the near future).