Antoinette Portis’s brilliantly observed and succinct (only three different words are used throughout) picture book, Wait, sweeps us along on a mother and son’s commute, as they make their way to the train station from home on foot.
Thanks to the democratisation of air travel, a global economy and parents’ changing mindsets about travelling with children in tow, we’re now witnessing the advent of a new generation of very lucky — and, dare I say, privileged — tots who think nothing of hopping on a plane and arriving hours later in a foreign land halfway across the world. Thus, Lately Lily is one of the few children’s books that have managed to capture the zeitgeist of today’s mini globetrotters.
The first thing that will probably strike you when you pick up Line 135 is its odd size: measuring 19.5cm by 33cm, it’s shorter, and yet, also much wider than most of the other picture books. But don’t let this put you off since there’s a very good reason for the somewhat unwieldy size.
The premise of the book is simple: a girl takes a long train ride from her house in the city to where her grandma lives, out in the countryside. Along the way, she sits by the window to admire the view outside and — as people are wont to do in trains before smartphones and iPads came along — daydream: specifically, about travelling and ‘knowing’ the entire world when she grows up.
Part of the Big Little Golden Book series of classic children’s books, The Golden Egg Book is a cute story about a curious little bunny who finds an egg and tries various ways to figure out what’s inside — by shaking it, prodding it, jumping on it and even throwing little nuts at it — all to no avail.