During my research for Badge, Boot, Button: The Story of Australian Uniforms, I looked at one of the many curious treasures in the National Library's collection: a large metal trunk painted red and black, with a label engraved ‘P. Shaw Esq'. Inside the trunk, folds of black wool and a burst of feathers resolve themselves into a uniform decorated with gold braid and topped with a plumed bicorn hat.
Most good picture books have some kind of dual narrative going on, another story that's quite apart from the text. As visual narrative, illustrations should not be a direct reflection of the text—they should be so much more.
For a book like This Is Banjo Paterson, where young children are introduced to a topic that's not typical for their age, it was very important to get this visual narrative right.
When I was first approached by the Library's publisher Susan Hall to write what would become What Do We Want? The Story of Protest in Australia, I declined. I was too busy with ‘more serious' things. Besides, I'd never written a ‘picture book' before and was unsure what it would involve.
This little red book about the papers and speeches of Colonel Hutton 1894-1898 was recently brought up to the Preservation lab for a few repairs. When we took a closer look, it was evident that this leather tightback with false raised bands had not only lost its lower board with its upper board hanging on by a thread, but it had already received some treatment in the past.
We are captivated by our nearest celestial dance partner, and joyfully turn out in droves at vantage points to howl at a Super Moon, or the recent “Extra-super Moon”. We now know so much about the moon, with our scientific knowledge expanding exponentially since we first stamped our footprints on its surface.