Today’s delicious picture book led me on all sorts of merry nostalgic wandering. When I was small my mum was a typing teacher. Very occasionally if I was having a sick day from school I would sit in the back of her classroom in front of my very own typewriter. There I discovered how much fun you could have creating more than just words.
Elliot, a boy who likes finding things, happens upon a mystery machine. Its purpose is revealed all a bit accidentally; it makes letters, and subsequently, words! Elliot and words are not really friends, but when he discovers that the letters can create pictures, well, his creativity explodes.
Giraffes, boats, trees and windmills flow merrily from his fingers. And it turns out, these pictures are equally as great at telling stories as words. When the story machine fizzes to a halt Elliot has a momentary downer before realising that he doesn’t need the machine to tell his stories, that’s up to him.
This is a delightful book, the illustrations are such a treat. My four-year-old nephew and I spent ages poring over the letter pictures. It is also a beautiful concept. So many people struggle with reading and writing. Tom McLaughlin reminds us that storytelling can take all sorts of forms, it’s just a matter of finding your favourite.
Check out The story machine at Auckland Libraries.
Or buy The story machine from Fishpond.