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Children's LiteratureDrawing on her grandmother's experiences, Ormerod takes us to the Australian bush country, where Lizzie lives with her mother, father, and the baby, fifty miles from town. When Papa has to go to town by horse and cart, he is gone for a long time, leaving them alone in the sometimes frightening bush. Lizzie's imagination lightens their busy days. With it the baby's bathtub becomes a boat on the sea, a bunch of flowers is a bridal bouquet. "Nonsense!" is her mother's reply to these flights of fancy, but together they manage to keep their spirits high until the happy moment when Papa returns. Ormerod skirts sloppy sentimentality with scenes of gentle strength. Her opaque watercolors depict the well-weathered wooden house in a forest-like environment that is sometimes mustard yellow, sometimes dappled rust. The lamp at night casts patchy deep shadows. Mother and daughter are delineated with humanistic care—even the baby has character. Pioneer life in Australia appears not that different from that here in America. Genuine emotions fill the book's large pages; the flight of white birds on the end-papers sends it aloft. 2005 (orig. 2004), Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Company, Ages 5 to 7.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz