Getting back on track with some Irish award-winners. There by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick was named The Bisto Book of the Year for 2009 and also received an Honour Award for Illustration. It is a quiet and thoughtful book perfect for sharing one-on-one, but also filled with a child’s spunk and sense of wonder. In a series of questions, a girl ponders what and where “There” is and what it might bring. The illustrations are really lovely, capturing the varying moods of the girl’s questions perfectly.
The chapter book awards from Ireland are dominated by Kate Thompson and Siobhan Dowd. Having already read Dowd for the Carnegie Medal and adoring Thompson’s The New Policeman when it first came out, I wanted to try a different author. As a fan of both historical fiction and the Netherlands, the 2003/2004 winner, Wings Over Delft, by Aubrey Flegg made the cut. I’ll try to avoid this approach for future country awards as my mind was in the Netherlands rather than Ireland and I don’t feel like I’ve done Ireland justice! As wealthy Louise Eedeen sits for her portrait before an expected (but not eagerly anticipated) marriage, she enjoys what she hopes will not be her last opportunity to explore science, philosophy and art. Flegg captures the spirit of inquiry during the Dutch Golden Age and the Puritannical social expectations it lived alongside. Unfortunately the book ends so abruptly as to leave me shaking my head. While it is the first in a trilogy, the sequel does not take place until over one hundred years later so I do not expect that the abruptness is resolved to my satisfaction in the second book.