Books & Literature

Book Review: The Most Amazing Thing, by Ian Hayward Robinson and Matt Shanks

PICTURE BOOK: A remarkable book about wonder and hope that explores the meaning of life in ways that we can all understand.

A beautifully illustrated story which will leave you and your young ones feeling empowered and ready to face the world.

Feature image credit: Allen & Unwin

Ian Hayward Robinson is a former head of Professional Writing and Editing at Chisholm Institute, has run many writing workshops and conferences around Australia and is the author of plays, among many other accomplishments. 

Critically acclaimed author and illustrator Matt Shanks, who usually works in watercolour, has been responsible for over 20 picture books, several having received awards.  

From Shanks’ colourful front cover depicting a joyous group of people and animals, to the back cover with its childlike illustrations, The Most Amazing Thing is a story for young and old. Inside the front cover we see a child catching a drop of rain from a storm cloud above. As we continue to turn the pages, before the story has even begun, we have discovered a family stuck inside the house on a wet day. Each member of the family, from sister and brother to father and mother, are all busy doing something in different rooms of the house.

But Henry is unfortunately bored with nothing at all to do. He is encouraged by his mother to draw the most amazing thing. But what could that be? So, Henry decides to ask each member of his family what the most amazing thing could be. Of course, they all have different answers. We follow Henry through the book as he learns about himself, the world and eventually discovers the answer to his question.

Shanks has accompanied Robinson’s heart-warming text with colourful illustrations. He cleverly and humorously creates pictures of what might be going on in Henry’s brain.

The Most Amazing Thing would be a good book to use in any junior primary classroom. It could be the start of discussions and research around the human brain, the world and beyond, with art lessons depicting these things. Children could also think about what or who in their lives they find amazing and hopefully come to the same realisation as Henry.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Released: February 2024
RRP: $19.99

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