In her April Bulletin, De Virginia Lowe, who was Toni’s first ever Picture Book teacher and mentor, reviewed Toni’s latest Picture Book, ‘The Tree House’, illustrated by Melbourne illustrator, Michele Gaudion.
Virginia introduces her review with the comments,
‘A lovely looking book, with the tree house itself featured on the cover, with the swing for three hanging under it.
Emma wants Teresa to be able to climb a tree with her. Mummy says it is possible, despite the fact that she is in a wheelchair, as long as they all help her. So Dad and Grandpa build an elaborate house, but while Emma pushes Teresa down to watch them building, she tips up the wheelchair, and Teresa has to go to hospital in an ambulance.’
To tell any more would give away the story!
Toni commenced writing 'The Tree House' during a course presented by Libby Gleeson in 2012 at the Centre for Continuing Education, The University of Sydney. One of the exercises was to relive/write about a childhood experience. Other attendees accepted Toni’s draft enthusiastically and two nurses in the group who worked in community services encouraged Toni to bring the story to a resolution pointing out that there were too few books available for them to use as a vehicle for discussion with children who had a disabled sibling.
After numerous rejections from traditional publishers, Toni decided to partner-publish and began the search for an illustrator whom she felt could capture the spirit of the story. Michele Gaudion was engaged.
Michele is a visualiser, graphic designer, and professional advertising and book illustrator. Her history includes Studio Manager and Art Director at HDM Mattingly Melbourne and Group Head of Retail Young & Rubicam Adelaide. Michele has run her own illustration and design business since 1993. She has illustrated books mainly for Pan Macmillan and for authors Paul Collins and Wendy Blaxland to name just two.
‘The Tree House’ is published by Little Steps Publishing and is available through distributors Dennis Jones & Associates. It is Hard Cover only and retails for $19.95. It's going to the BookExpo America in New York in May 2014 with William and Irina Webster of Inspiring Publishers.
Details of Virginia’s courses are on her website at: createakidsbook.com.au