Written and illustrated by Dub Leffler / Magabala Books 2011 $24.95
This is possibly the most beautiful book I have had the pleasure of holding and reading this year.
The story is simple and universal: the innocence of young friendship, temptation and curiosity (of course the minute one is told NOT to do something they’re going to do it!) and the power of reconciliation for both parties.
With a tale revolving around a boy, a young girl, a deserted island, fruit that tastes like chocolate (the author won me completely me at that one point!) and a broken heart, there’s a lesson for all. But it’s the illustrations as much as the simple language that makes this work so engaging. The changing colors of the ocean over time, the shades of the mangrove trees and the golden heart (my favorite) are works of art. This book is actually a work of art, and I can’t believe they’re selling it for $24,95! Biggest bargain of the year also!
With a working background in animation and as an art teacher it’s easy to see how and why Dub Leffler, a descendent of the Bigambul and Mandandanji people of south-west Queensland, as been so successful. He's even worked on collaborations with the wonderful Shaun Tan! [I wish I could say the same about myself!]
This book is marketed as a kids’ book, but when it comes to matters of the heart, and broken ones at that, there are many, many adults (including the one writing this) could benefit from the words in ONCE THERE WAS A BOY. So, I’ll be giving a few friends this little gem for Christmas.
To find out more, go to Magabala Books, order your copy from Booktopia and read about Dub at My Book Corner.
I can’t wait to read Dub’s next installment.