I read The Tomorrow Book to celebrate last months big, big news that Jackie French will be Australia's next Children's Laureate. Actually I'd already borrowed it from the library before I news came through, as it's always tempting when I see a new Jackie French book on the shelf. Her output is truly vast, and I'd not seen this one before, but even I can manage to sneak in reading another new picture book.
The Tomorrow Book is fantastic! A wonderful book full of hope, passion and zest for life- just like Jackie French.
A little prince loves books. Being a prince he has lots of books, and is a big reader.
But our little prince is an optimist.
He helps out the other kids with their problems, in cool, imaginative, environmentally friendly ways.
There is a strong environmental theme to The Tomorrow Book, but it manages to be fun without being preachy. Jackie French wrote a fabulous Author's Note at the end of the book. It's inspiring.
Our streets, schools and parks could be filled with fruit for anyone to pick, and also be used for markets where neighbours could swap produce and things they no longer need. Our tall buildings could have wildlife sanctuaries on their rooftops, and birds nesting in the vines growing on their walls. Every house could 'condense' moisture from the air to be used to cool or warm the house, as well as for chooks and veggies in the backyard.
Sue Degennaro's Illustrators Note is fascinating too. I wish picture books always included a note about how the illustrations were made, or their inspiration.
The illustrations in this book were all created from recycled materials. I limited myself to paper found only within the confines of my house. Each image is made up of a collection of packaging found in my kitchen cupboards, such as tea bags, flour packets and match-boxes. I've also used traces of envelopes from mail delivered to my house. Other pieces of paper I collected years ago and have held onto, along with stray cards from a playing deck.