The Littlest Bushranger comes to town
Today I welcome wonderful writer and friend, Alison Reynolds to celebrate the launch of her latest picture book The Littlest Bushranger.
Alison is the multi-talented, much published author of the Ranger Danger series, A Year with Marmalade and For You Mum amongst her many other titles. Prolific, dedicated and professional describe Alison’s work ethic. Gorgeous, evocative and imaginative describe her books.
The Littlest Bushranger embodies all these adjectives and is a delightful rendering of a child’s imagination at play. Vivid descriptions transform an ordinary backyard into the bush, a bird into an outlaw, a hose into a snake and the adventure begins with Jack in pursuit of the villain.
This book will prove inspirational to today’s child readers who often miss the chance to day-dream and explore their imaginations with so much fully formed fare lade on for them in video games, instant digital amusements and movies on demand. It brought so many memories back to my mind of games of make-believe my sisters and I shared as children and adventures in my own imagination. I love the reminder that make-believe is fun and can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.
The text of The Littlest Bushranger evokes Jack’s adventure through strong verbs and fast paced action. The fantastic imagery of the “murky billabong”, a dark shape swooping, hurdling a snake, splashing through a billabong, paint word pictures in my mind as vivid as the wonderful images on the page.
Heath McKenzie’s http://www.heathmck.com fabulous illustrations show the wild adventure in Jack’s imagination – the fierce battle, his grim determination and the friends who help him battle their foe. I love the return to reality at the end when the billabong reveals as a wading pool, the sword reverts to a broom and Jack’s trusty stead becomes his bicycle.
I can’t resist asking Alison a few questions on the topic of make-believe.
Alison, I got the strong feeling whilst reading The Littlest Bushranger that you were closely connected to this type of imaginative play. How much did your own childhood influence the idea and development of Jack’s story?
A huge amount. I didn’t realise until I finished how much of myself was in the book. I loved playing imaginative games, including some that lasted for days. I had a secret passage behind the cotoneasters along the driveway, I would make tomato soup out of rust on top of the incinerator and dragged all the furniture out of my cubby house onto its. That was my penthouse!
Can you share one of your favourite childhood games of make-believe?
I played one named, rather macabrely, Death. With my two friends we would act out a scenario that resulted in Death, which we would all chant in sombre, dramatic tones. I remember the first one I did as a sort of demonstration model was me staggering along in a desert, panting and then slowly collapsing into the sand. I was lost in a desert. The death throes lasted for a long, long time.
What do you believe is the role and/or benefit of make-believe in children’s lives?
I think make-believe is extremely important. You can control your own environment. Often children feel as if they have no control in their reality. Children can express their feelings in play and storytelling. It’s also a lot of fun. I remember how there were no limits in my imaginative play. If I wanted to fly, I could do it!
Will we see further adventures of Jack?
I’m crossing my fingers as I have some more adventures up my sleeve that I would love to share with Jack.
As part of Alison’s blog tour she is offering some fantastic prizes along the way, plus a great opportunity for non-fiction writers, and a fantastic MONSTER drawing competition.
Jump the Slush Pile!
Win a free pass to a adult non-fiction commissioning editor’s desk.
Just comment on this blog post or any other blog during the The Littlest Bushranger blog tour and add the initials NF. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win the draw.
There are a couple of monsters in The Littlest Bushranger. One’s a bunyip, and the other an outlaw/monster who steals Lil’s telescope. What sort of monster do you like? Send along a painting/drawing/model of a monster and you could win a piece of Heath McKenzie’s amazing artwork for The Littlest Bushranger.
Upload your own best monster to https://www.facebook.com/alison.reynolds.524 or email it as a low res jpeg file to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll upload it. If you don’t have a scanner, take a photo on a smart phone and email that!
Two categories. Under 12 and 12 plus, including grown-ups. Entries close 25th June!
The Littlest Bushranger The Five Mile Press June 2013 ISBN 97817434664977
Follow the other stops on Alison’s book tour and watch out for further prizes along the ride including: a piece of Heath McKenzie’s artwork from The Littlest Bushranger, a picture book assessment by Alison Reynolds, 2 free passes direct to an editor’s desk (you get to skip the slush pile), copies of The Littlest Bushranger. Just comment on the posts.
June 11 Kat Apel http://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/blog/
June 12 Chris Bell https://christinebell.com.au/
June 13 Angela Sunde http://angelasunde.blogspot.com.au/
June 14 Boomerang Books http://blog.boomerangbooks.com.au/author/dpowell
June 18 Dee White http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/
June 19 Kids Book Review http://www.kids-bookreview.com/
June 20 Ask the Editor. Interview with Melissa Keil
June 21 Ask the Sales Rep. Interview with Melinda Beaumont