What I Like Most / Goodbye House, Hello House

What I Like Most
Mary Murphy and Zhu Cheng-Liang
Walker Books

A small girl narrator takes us through the day sharing the favourite things in her life.

Assuredly she has much to like – the window through which she watches the comings and goings, apricot jam to spread on her toast, her trainers with the flashing lights,

the tree-lined river, her red pencil, chips, the storybook she knows by heart, her teddy bear.

All these are favourite things but the girl knows that while the view through the window changes, the jam is finished, her feet outgrow her shoes, the river changes,

her red pencil is all used up, her plate empties, the book is no longer interesting, there is someone there whom no matter what, she’ll always, always love and that someone is what she likes ‘the very, very most in the world.’

What a lovely way to express one’s love for a mother while also showing that maternal love is constant. Mary Murphy’s lyrical text combined with Zhu Cheng-Liang’s richly coloured illustrations with their unusual and varied viewpoints offer a wonderful demonstration that it’s not the flashy, expensive things in life that make us happy but the everyday ones we could so easily take for granted.

Goodbye House, Hello House
Margaret Wild and Ann James
Allen & Unwin

Endings and beginnings can be challenging for anyone, but here in this story the little girl narrator appears to be embracing change bravely.

She spends a while on ‘last times’, bidding farewell to things she has loved to do – fishing in the river, running through the trees;

swinging on the gate.

Inside she embraces domestic last times before saying goodbye to the rooms in the country house. Then Emma (only now her name is revealed), changes the writing on the wall to the past tense …

and it’s time to leave.

At the new city house, there are exciting first times

and hellos to be said, new writing to put on the wall and anticipation of things to come.

Yes the landscapes may be very different but with a positive attitude familiarity can be found. . Emma’s body language says much about her emotions, but no matter the location Emma is still Emma.

Margaret Wild’s minimal text combined with Ann James’ muted story-telling illustrations leave plenty of room for the reader’s imaginations.

This heart-warming book offers a great starting point for opening up discussion about change whether or not children have had an experience similar to Emma’s.

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