** Congratulations to Meg for winning the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award 2013 for Ten Tiny Things **
Ten Tiny Things is a fabulous picture book from Meg McKinlay. The deceptively simple storyline encourages its little readers to take note of all the little things that surround them - you'll be walking every where after devouring this one!
Tessa and Zachary travel to school each day in a rather nifty 'machine'. 'Green', 'clean' and 'shiny', it really is just perfect. If it is cold outside, a quick touch of a button soon warms them up. If it is too hot? Well, the buttons work for that too.
Like all good machines, there always comes a day when ... well ... they just don't work quite so well anymore. With their large, heavy rucksacks Tessa and Zachary must do the one thing they never thought they would have to do, WALK to school.
As they get closer to the school, they begin to ignore their aching legs and pay more attention to the wonderful range of tiny things they find - such things were just a blur from the shelter of their machine. Before long their legs stop aching and begin to hum 'a walking tune' - I ADORED that description!
I love that Ten Tiny Things is set in a slightly parallel environment, leaving little readers to make the link to their own lives - and cementing the meaning just that little bit more firmly. Clever.
McKinlay's command of the narrative is full of creativity. Delicious vocabulary such as 'splendiferous' and 'cool calm comfort' give this picture book a charm and character all of its own.
Kyle Hughes-Odgers illustrations cleverly emphasise the mood and tone of the narrative. Using autumnal colours of greens and browns as a backdrop, Tessa and Zachary are depicted in beautiful shades of blue. The 'fabulous fish' and 'beautiful birds' they spy on their journey echoes these brighter blues, serving to strength their new found connection to the world around them. Beautiful.