‘There’-Irish Picture Book Illustration at it’s best

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There by Irish author-illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick is a marvellous picture book. It is the story of a young girl who asks the dreaded question ‘When will I get There?’ The strength of this book lies in it’s illustration and play on words. It is one of my favourite picture books due to the duality of the book- it is aimed at children but the message of the book is firmly aimed at adults.

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Fitzpatrick’s illustrations are stunning, soft, somber colours mix with vibrant reds and blues. The illustrations are simple and subtle but in my opinion there is a very ‘Irish’ feel to this book. There is beautiful drawings of huge rolling green hills and soft rainy days and the girl goes through various scenes which look right out of Ireland, like this one shown below.

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There is a great use of repetition in the book where the child is constantly asking about this special place called “There” for example ‘And will I know everything, There?‘ The child is asking what adults would feel are ridiculous questions but when one thinks about it you could argue the author is making a clever point in including these questions, at one point the child asks:

‘Can Teddy come too?

Can I stop along the way?

Can I pick daisies?’

The child reader will love the simplistic nature of the questions and the illustrations accompanying them but the adult will also stop to think about this magical place called ‘There’. Most adults, myself included are constantly worried about goals and ambitions, we are so caught up in our career paths and personal ambitions that we often forget about life’s joys. Children enjoy the simple things in life and the author reaffirms this cleverly in the concluding page. It reads ‘I’ll go There  tomorrow.’ and it is accompanied by a beautiful picture of the girl flying a kite.

I cannot speak highly enough of this book, it would be a wonderful book to read to your child at night, it could be read again and again with different things spotted on each page. Children love repetition, and they could easily read this book with their mothers or fathers before going asleep at night. A brilliant book with a real celtic feel!

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