The Girl Who Noticed Everything
Jane Porter and Maisie Paradise Shearring
Little Stella is a wonderfully imaginative child who notices everything around her – clouds shaped like horses, a lonely glove waving from some railings, dustbins with faces, birds so cold they need blankets to keep them warm,
a man with upside down hair and another wearing a cat on his head. She excitedly shares her observations about all of these with her Dad as they walk to the park to meet their friends. He though is concerned that Stella’s forthright comments might hurt people’s feelings, so after a while she stops talking about what she sees.
However once they reach the park, she just has to draw her Dad’s attention to the colourfully dressed but sad looking woman walking very slowly calling, “Frankie! Frankie! Frankie?” His response is that they should play not noticing things for a while but that doesn’t stop Stella spotting a beautiful blue feather, which she picks up and tucks in her pocket.
Once at the park, Stella’s cross feelings disappear as she joins her friends in the sandpit. Even there though her eyes are busy looking everywhere especially at the nearby tree with its ‘pleated paper’ bark and toffee coloured leaves. Suddenly she spies a bright flash among the branches and shortly after comes a squawk. It’s this sound that makes her recall where she’d seen those bright colours before.
Now she knows that she really needs to speak out. What she says results in a joyful reunion, followed by a walk home during which both Dad and Stella both notice all manner of exciting things and Stella gives Dad a very special present. What he says in return should ensure that his daughter continues to speak out, and to use her observation skills and her imagination wherever she goes.
Jane Porter’s wonderfully empowering story is a must to share with young children at home and in nursery or school. Maisie Paradise Shearring’s brightly coloured scenes, expand the telling with a wealth of detail, not spoken of – small animals, birds, flowers, patterns, textures, and more. Having read the story in its entirety first, I’d like to think an adult and young child would spend ages looking at and discussing each spread.