Fire written by Jackie French & Illustrated by Bruce Whatley
Published by Scholastic Books
Jackie French and Bruce Whatley join forces to bring us their compelling new picture book, Fire.
Following on from the success of Flood it’s only fitting they release another book addressing an all too familiar natural disaster, Fire. Released in time for summer, Fire is a poignant reminder of the dangers faced in the harsh Australian summer.
Picture book writing is difficult. Any author will tell you that fewer words do not mean an easier story to write. With the memories of Ash Wednesday and Black Friday never too far from our minds, Jackie and Bruce have created a passionate story that is sure to resonate with readers. Jackie embraces the true essence of this beast with her rhyming words and a familiarity with the realities of everyday life in the volatile Australian bush.
We observe a sulphur crested cockatoo against a blue summer sky. Nervous as he watches a spark below that soon transforms into wall of destruction.
Bruce’s blood soaked sky and flames dancing across each page compliment Jackie’s powerful story telling abilities. His haunting illustrations capture the reality that is life in the Australian bush. From images of fire ravaged landscapes, burnt out cars, families who are left with nothing but each other and of course the famous depiction of the fire fighter quenching the thirst of an injured Koala. I found the illustration of the young boy particularly moving.
Fire shows no mercy. It is an unrelenting force consuming everything in its path but there is hope. The end of the story gives birth to regrowth and renewal. Out of the black fire ravaged land life begins and in time the cockatoo and other wildlife will return.
Jackie wrote this book as a dedication to our selfless hard-working volunteer and career fire fighters, who everyday risk their lives in order to save ours.
You can almost smell the fire as Jackie’s words give life to the sights, sounds and colours of this intense story.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Jackie French
Illustrator: Bruce Whatley
Publisher: Scholastic Books
ISBN: 9781742838175 (hardback)
Published: January 2014