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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

'Australia to Z' by Armin Greder

Received from the Publisher 

From the BLURB:

Juxtaposing words and images, the multi-award-winning author of The Island shines an uncompromising light on what it is to be Australian.

I don't normally review picture books - not because I don't read them and love them (I do, I really do!) but because I think to do them justice I'd have to dedicate an entire blog to the reviewing of them (Hey! There's an idea...) and I personally love the book blogs in which actual children review picture books (and I'll admit, their opinions hold more weight than mine!) 

But I simply have to rave about Armin Greder's 2016 picture-alphabet book, 'Australia to Z'. 

Look, all picture books are art books as far as I'm concerned. But Greder's especially feels sharp and subversive - and a perfect example of how children's picture books especially, can say so much with so little. 

In Greder's alphabet book, A is for 'Aborigine', 'Boat People' is for 'Rupert Murdoch' stands for R and 'Meat Pies' comes before 'Nationalist' (with a drawing of a man wearing an Australia flag cape ...)

Author Libby Gleeson perfectly summarises what this Alphabet Book is really all about, and how it's for everyone: "... Armin Greder has cast his critical eye on us and our symbols." Indeed he has - the good, the bad and the downright ugly (aforementioned 'Nationalist' and 'Rupert') 

This book says a lot with so little - flipping through the pages and acknowledging the chosen alphabet symbols is sometimes uncomfortable for Greder's scathing accuracy - P is for Pokies - but there's beauty alongside the brutal, and Greder's underlying message is a powerful one worthy of applause. 

'Australia to Z' is probably going to be my favourite picture book of 2016. I expect to see it winning awards in the coming months, as a celebrated picture book for the young and old - indeed, an important book for all of us to read and listen to its powerful message. 


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