Just Because by Rebecca Elliott
|Just Because by Rebecca Elliott|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: A gorgeous tale of sibling affection. Just Because is brimming with love and warmth, and Rebecca Elliott's illustrations are superb too. Highly recommended. She was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: August 2010|
|Publisher: Lion Hudson|
|External links: Author's website|
Toby's best friend is his big sister, Clemmie. She can't walk, talk or move around much. Just because. He loves her dearly, and we discover all the many ways they play together. It's an utterly gorgeous tale of sibling affection.
Clemmie, as you might have guessed, uses a wheelchair. And so cue my liberal awkwardness in making sure I pitch the tone of the book correctly to you. Just because sums it up perfectly, and works brilliantly as a repeated note throughout. Toby loves his sister for many many reasons. Some, but not all, of the things he tells us about stem from her disability - there are differences, but it's not her sole defining characteristic. It's just because. There's no major breaking down barriers, there's certainly no tokenism. These are a brother and sister who love each other dearly - it just so happens that one of them has a disability.
Disability features far too scarcely in children's books, but when it's there it's usually done well. As I noted in the review of Einstein's Underpants, there's an understanding and an acceptance that kids often seem to do so much better than adults. Better representation leads to more familiarity, which leads to normalisation of people's attitudes towards it. Just like we're so far beyond saying Oh and the main character's best friend is BLACK. Isn't that MARRRRRRRRRVELLOUS?, we'll get to the stage where books including disability are doing so just because. Just Because is a strong and important part of that process, and I look forward to the day when my reviews of such books better reflect the tone of the books themselves.
I really enjoyed Rebecca Elliott's illustrations in Milo's Pet Egg, and I enjoy them all the more here. The paintings have a style of their own, but also with a warm familiarity that makes them feel like many much-loved classic picture books. I particularly loved the picture of Toby lying in Clemmie's enormous curly hair - there's a magical charm to the page that always raises a smile.
Just Because is a gorgeous book, brimming with love, affection and warmth. It's a wonderful addition to any bookshelf, just because. Highly recommended.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
There's plenty of sisterly love in Bedtime Without Arthur by Jessica Meserve. Green by Mark Sperring and Leo Timmers has a more confrontational sibling relationship, but it's hilarious. Baby Baby Blah Blah Blah! by Jonathan Shipton and Francesca Chessa looks at a new addition to a family. Older readers will love Red Sky in the Morning by Elizabeth Laird.
Rebecca Elliott was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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