Children’s Book Week Review – The Gift

Link to Catalogue record for The Gift

The Gift by Michael Speechley

This book was part of the Notable list for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Awards – Picture Book of the Year.

The house across the road looks abandoned, but Rosie knows someone lives there. She decides to give her mystery neighbour a gift – something different, something unusual, something surprising. Something her mum would have been proud of.

This is such a beautiful book, in message, story and illustration.

Rosie lost her mum at some point before the book starts but she remembers the lessons her mother taught her well and uses them to try and reach out to someone else. The house across the street, with the overrun garden and mysterious owner, calls to the lonely part of Rosie that misses her mum. So, Rosie starts offering the owner gifts…but not the gifts you would expect.

These gifts do have an effect though and eventually the mysterious owner of the house and Rosie meet and realise they have so much more in common than they thought. Both have suffered loses, are living lives they didn’t really expect and in one another they find a kinship.

Then the true gift is revealed and it’s beautiful.

Rosie is a wonderful character and epitomises the skill children have of seeing beauty in the world and helping the adults around them remember that they can see it too.

Michael Speechley is a great illustrator and I really enjoy how this book is visually different from his last one – The All New Must Have Orange 430, but still in his style.

I want absolutely everyone to read this book.