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Town is Sea by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith




2018, Kate Greenaway  Prize 2018, 

This is a landscape picture book and thus easy for the parent and child to share.  As usual in picture books the story the pictures tell more of the story. The ratio of text to picture is what we would normally expect for this sort of book.

We also have the normal amount of repetition: when (I wake up) it goes like this, my father is digging coal  … 

There is a mixture of double spreads, single spreads and pages that contain multiple pictures. The double spreads generally give a strong sense of place: the family home, the town, the mine where the protagonist’s father digs and the sea. The single spreads and the pages with multiple pictures are more concerned with activities.

In some ways, however, the text may appeal to a more advanced learner. The protagonist’s observations are quite sophisticated. He thinks about his father’s work and realises that one day it will be his turn.   

The author also provides a note at the end of the text explaining what it was like for children who grew up in mining villages. 

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