Review Blog

Mar 15 2018

Ash dresses her friends by Fu Wenzheng

cover image

New Frontier Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781925594027
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Friendship, Sewing, Animals, Shyness. Ash is an azure winged magpie and she sits all alone in her nest. She is invited to parties by her neighbors, but she sits back, quietly and they do not speak to her, they think she is shy. She would love to have a friend. When she sees a sad elephant she asks him what the matter is. He tells that her that he would really love a new shirt. Ash tells him that she can help him out and getting a large bolt of the most luxurious looking red floral material, makes him a shirt on her trusty pedal sewing machine. He is thrilled with his lovely shirt and goes off to tell the others. A shy black bear comes by wondering if Ash could make her a new dress. Of course, says Ash. Then a zebra happens along wanting a new cover for his armchair to contrast with his stripes. Ash makes this too. She makes a scarf for the fox and a knapsack for the koala, and she still has material left over.
But once all the animals have their new things, they go off to display them. She is alone again. The squirrel returns to show her how many nuts he has picked to fill his red bag, and the other animals come to her nest to celebrate what she has done for them. They are all happy and Ash feels loved.
This delightful tale will enthrall younger readers, as they see all the animals Ash helps with her material, wondering just how she is able to make a shirt for the elephant and still have material left over. But also seeing the themes of friendship and sharing come through.
The mix of illustrative technique by Fu Wenzheng has created an original and bold look to the book. Two colours dominate each page, making a statement about the material Ash uses to share with her neighbours. Grey wash is superbly adapted to create illustrations which will entrance the eyes of the readers as they pore over each page.
The grey beautifully contrasts with the red material's print, and the use of white space accentuates the boldness of the material.
Fran Knight

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