If you keep your eyes and mind wide open, you’ll always have marvels to wonder at. And one day, if you notice everything, you might just solve a mystery!
But when should you share your observations with those around you, and when should you guard your tongue? Talking about other people might hurt their feelings, but sometimes we just have to speak out – like Stella in this story, who reunites a lost parrot with its owner and learns to exercise a little self-restraint.
In the course of an ordinary outing to the park, Stella spots a lonely glove abandoned on a post, a gang of wheelie bins with faces and a line of geese whooshing overhead. Dad enjoys her observations but doesn’t always have time for clues and stories, and Stella’s comments about other people worry him.
‘Sssh!’ he says, when she asks whether a furry-hatted man is wearing a cat on his head, and ‘Let’s play at NOT noticing things,’ when she draws his attention to the ‘shuffly rainbow lady’ who’s searching for a lost someone called Frankie. So Stella doesn’t mention a bright blue feather lying on the ground, and has to think hard about the multicoloured parrot in the tree. But surely that needs sharing? And hasn’t she seen those colours somewhere before? Luckily, Stella makes the right call in this rounded and well-characterized story about curiosity and caring, and Frankie the parrot is reunited with his owner.
The Girl Who Noticed Everything addresses relevant (and potentially quite challenging) issues by drawing its audience in and delighting rather than instructing them. Its focus on the visual and imaginative joys of connecting and observing are particularly welcome, and embedded within the story and images are prompts for learning and discussion.
Jane Porter’s cheerful text has a natural, real-world feel, and Maisie Paradise Shearring’s characters also burst with life. Plenty of location-specific spreads anchor the action in familiar settings (a rumpled sitting room, an urban street, a sandpit…) but good use is made of white backgrounds to focus attention on Stella’s internal world.
Appropriately, there’s a lot happening in this book, but it all comes together in a satisfying way to deliver an enjoyable and thought-provoking read for children from about 4 up.