Friday, 20 June 2014

Silver Buttons

I'm not sure why it's taken me a while to get to the Bob Graham party. Perhaps I'd just never read the right books before. Perhaps I needed to go to the totally amazing Bob Graham Retrospective A Bird in the Hand at CMAG when I was at the CBCA Conference last month (I really need to tell you about all that) before I was ready. Whatever the case I think I'm there now, and need to go back and read the books I've read before and found a bit wanting. Clearly the problem was on my end.

Now that I have come to the Bob Graham party I found Silver Buttons a charming book. Telling the story of just one minute in a family, it expands to shows us that exact one minute in the street, and the town…

Silver Buttons is a marvellous lesson in perspective, how we are all living separate lives full of moments, but no moment is the same for all of us, even if we are together. It is also a fine graphic, illustrative perspective- Bob Graham cleverly hides small moments within the larger pictures, making Silver Buttons like an I Spy kind of adventure- young children love poring over the detail in pictures, and I'm sure would have picked up on this quicker than I did.

It is 9.59 on an average Thursday morning and in a terrace house Jodie is drawing a duck, at the very moment when she is about to put the third and last silver button on her duck's boots, Jodie's brother Jonathan is about to take his first step. It is a small, domestic moment, and we see the moments that all sorts of different people are having all over the city.

Bob Graham's granddaughter Rosie drew the dapper duck requiring the third silver button. While reading Silver Buttons I thought of the recent campaign, We Need Diverse Books. While the main characters, Jodie and Jonathan are white, many of the lives and moments we see are for people of diverse backgrounds. Perhaps this is why Silver Buttons has been endorsed by Amnesty International UK.

Silver Buttons has been shortlisted for the 2014 CBCA Picture Book of the Year (winner to be announced August 15). I think it's my current favourite, but then I have still only read four of the six titles.


Brona said...

I'm so glad you've finally come to the Bob Graham party!
Silver Buttons is certainly one of my favourites now (if you reread Rose Meets Mr Wintergarten see if you can find the crocodile on each page :-)

I will be in Canberra in a couple of weeks time and plan to visit the exhibition at the CMAG.

I'm Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

All of his books are very thoughtful. He seems to create books that are increasingly thoughtful as he grows older.