Review: Sunshine: Celebrating Forty Years

A timeless and wordless picture book that nonetheless says so much as it sparkles with delight and surprise. Very appropriate for today. 

This fortieth anniversary edition, with the most beautiful forward by illustrator Freya Blackwood, is a classic in every sense of that word.

It’s morning, and the reader travels with a little girl who wakes up as the sunlight streams in through her window. She reads her book for a while before clambering out of bed to wake her sleepy-head parents.

The narrative follows this little tousle-haired child and her family as they attend to their regular morning routines. She collects the newspaper and the post, helps daddy make a cup of tea for mummy and then alerts him to the burning toast which the reader sees long before he does!

As her parents settle in to reading the paper and dozing, the child gets ready for the day – involving a truly exquisite sequence of dressing herself, getting lost in her singlet, pulling on an obstreperous pair of tights and finally putting shoes on the wrong feet. Perfection.

The detail and humour in this illustrated narrative are wonderful. An economy of line and movement along with a simple colour palette, means that each and every rendering of child and family is quite self-contained and captivating. The story flows with ease; one pen-and-wash watercolour illustration moving seamlessly into the next.

Then, as crunch time comes and the family are spurred into frenetic action, the spacious and almost languid morning feeling gives way to chaos and movement. This is depicted with people cleverly stepping through, and existing between, pictures (how does Ormerod even do that?) and a wonderful sense of flurry and urgency.

Detail and delight abound in this work that feels fresh and contemporary. Even with it’s wind-up alarm clock.

Check back in for Elizabeth’s follow up review of Moonlight this coming Wednesday.

Title: Sunshine – Celebrating Forty Years
Author: Jan Ormerod
Publisher: Pan Macmillan $19.99
Publication Date: 2 March 2022
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781460761588
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Books

April 4, 2022 at 12:47AM DimbutNice