The Thank You Dish is written and beautifully illustrated by Trace Balla who lives and writes in country Victoria. On the surface it’s about a fun dinner table conversation between Grace and her Mama but it’s really about much more than that –how we all need to care for and give thanks for not just our friends and family but for the whole environment because everything is connected.
Grace, like the author, lives in the country with kangaroos hopping around the place. Before her Mama calls Grace into dinner, she thanks the soil, rain and the sun which have helped the veggies grow. At the table, Grace first thanks the kangaroos for not eating all the home grown carrots then Leo for lending her the ladder. Why thank Leo asks Mama – so she could reach to pick lemon’s from Lucy’s tree, Grace replies as she squeezes a lemon slice over her fish.
Then, in a roundabout way, I won’t spoil the story but it’s via alpacas and road workers, we discover who should be thanked for the fish and the other vegetables on their plates. Mama has a thank you too – for the tree that had flowers just like Trish’s dress when they first met which led to friendship and then a gift of Trish’s homemade relish.
As the thanks progress, so do the illustrations with little outline sketches of earlier pages included. By the final thank you, to Mama for a yummy dinner, the table top is adorned with miniatures drawings of Leo and the ladder, the kangaroos, alpacas and road workers.
The story shows us the importance of the many connections in our community and how these all can come together. The picture book is suitable for 3-6 year olds and the illustrations are simple but very effective.
Reviewed by Jan Kershaw
Rating out of 10: 8
Released by: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: April 2017
RRP: $19.99 hardcover