Review Blog

Jun 07 2018

The incredible freedom machines by Kirli Saunders

cover image

Ill. by Matt Ottley. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781760275228
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Imagination. Invention. Freedom. Freedom wrought through her imagination gives this young girl a chance to see the world and all of its wonders, escaping from the camp where she lives. Her inventiveness soars as she brings to life machines, evolving from the soil she stands on, building to fantastic machines, ready to take her where she wants to go. Sometimes it is too windy for the machine to fly, sometimes too wet as it leaks, but when she does soar into the clouds, she finds the most amazing things: worlds which sing with their abundance and variety, worlds which make her entire, worlds which give her everything she needs.
Whether her home is a refugee camp or hamlet on the edge of town, the ideas are there: that imagination will take you out of your situation, showing you possibilities undreamed of, allowing you to find another way.
Ottley's oil illustrations are just breathtaking as they take the eye across each page. Most sweep over the double pages, but several are limited to boxes showing a progression of events as the girl waits for her ideas to evolve. Matt Ottley is a much awarded illustrator, his paintings so full of imagination and verve, that readers will gasp as they turn the pages of his books. Readers will pore over the inventive machines, drinking in the details, running their hands over the pages and absorbing the wonderful endpapers, full of sketches and ideas used in his work.
Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai woman with ties to the Yuin, Gundungurra, Gadigal and Biripi people. Kirli is the Manager of Poetic Learning and Aboriginal Cultural Liaison at Red Room Poetry in Sydney. She was awarded 'Worker of the Year 2017' at the NAIDOC awards, and is a storyteller and poet. This is her first picture book, sure to be the first of many.
The two, author and illustrator have been imaginatively paired to produce a magnificent book of possibilities.
Fran Knight

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