From the first page, Fire is a tribute to the Australian countryside, its propensity for dryness and the devastation that follows contact with a single spark.

In stark contrast to the short turn-around they had for the sister book, Flood, Jackie French and Bruce Whatley spent three years working together, crafting images and text to create this timeless work of visual and word art.

Rhyming tales are excruciatingly difficult to master, yet the wording in Fire feels largely effortless. Short phrases pack sensory punches, inviting the reader into this larger-than-life experience.

Bruce Whatley talks of his struggle to bring images of fire to vibrant life and his discovery that the white of a blank page was more powerful than any mix of colours in bringing brightness and the sense of heat to his illustrations.

While it is almost impossible to understand what it is like to face the full force of a rampaging bushfire and survive, Jackie French and Bruce Whatley combine images and words that allow us to get a tiny bit closer to the reality of fire. Filled with sensory images that might simulate a shadow of the emotions that might assault the spirit of those who faced fire and survived, Fire is a keeper.

Title: Fire
Author: Jackie French
Illustrator: Bruce Whatley
Publisher: Scholastic, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9781742838175
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book
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