By Hayley Rawsthorne. Illustrated by Briony Stewart
Reviewed by Helen Gearing
‘These little ears, so tender and dear. The songs they will love, the noises they’ll fear.’
As all book lovers know, there is a special, timeless magic to a good picture book and publisher Albert Street Books (an imprint of Allen and Unwin) deserves a standing ovation for bringing together debut author Hayley Rawsthorne’s gorgeous, lilting text and Briony Stewart’s delicious illustrations in These Little Feet.
Here is a story which celebrates the hope and wonder of being a parent or caregiver and imagining what is in store for your child – from the places their feet will take them to the songs they will love and the difficulties they will face. It’s written in expert, unforced rhyme, with a soothing rhythm which makes reading it aloud a dream – even for the seventh consecutive time!
Illustrator Briony Stewart is a multi award-winning author and illustrator of many book gems, including The Garden at the End of the World (with Cassy Polimeni), Mina and the Whole Wide World (with Sherryl Clark), and the middle-grade Kumiko trilogy. In this story, her illustrations – just like babies’ feet – beg to be touched and stroked.
This book would make a perfect gift for new parents and their babies, and will also be enjoyed by older children as they learn to read independently (and perhaps even read the story aloud to a new sibling?) No expense has been spared in its production – from the embossed title and thick, high-quality paper through to gorgeous endpaper designs (try and spot all the babies!)
There are lots of books celebrating new babies – from Alison Lester’s Kissed by the Moon through to Sophie Beer’s Welcome, Little One, and Inda Ahmad Zari’s gorgeous Twice the Love – but make room for These Little Feet too. It’s a beauty and I predict it will become a modern classic.