Sunday, October 23, 2011
Porirua-based artist and educator Margaret Tolland makes a dazzling debut as a children’s book illustrator with a new book released this month.
Tolland collaborated with author Gay Hay of Pukerua Bay to produce Fantail’s Quilt, a sumptuous new picture book that tells a classic indigenous story – a fantail, a rat, a morepork and the New Zealand bush.
Award-winning illustrator Gavin Bishop has endorsed the book, saying Hay and Tolland “tell a big story in a deceptively simple way. Their touch is powerful but light. There is much to talk about behind the elegant pictures and evocative words.”
John McIntyre, Wellington bookseller and recent recipient of the Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award for outstanding long-term service to the genre of books for children and young adults, is also enthusiastic. Reviewing Fantail’s Quilt on National Radio, he described it as a “lovely collaboration” and the illustrations as “rich and elegant . . . beautifully drawn”.
Fantail’s Quilt will be launched on 27 October in a celebration at Pataka, Porirua’s Museum of Arts and Culture, where Tolland works as an Education Coordinator, passing on her passion to people of all ages, and Hay, an environmental enthusiast, carefully tends the gardens.
Hay, who has also worked as a primary school teacher, is passionate about education. Her previously published educational resource, Discovery Time, has been a hit in New Zealand primary schools. She drew on her teaching background when writing Fantail’s Quilt:
“It was important to me that the book was interactive. The sketches, facts and Maori vocabulary list at the back offer readers and their caregivers ways into the book, but this is really just the beginning.”
Just the beginning, too, for Tolland, who has revelled in the process of book illustration and is eager to get stuck into the next project. She admits to a new sense of admiration for fantails, and their energy and determination, joking:
“I hope some of it has rubbed off on me. Maybe there is a self-portrait as a fantail somewhere in the book?”
Hay and Tolland hope to collaborate on further works and plan to produce a series of resources for young children.
Title: Fantail’s Quilt
Author: Gay Hay
Illustrator: Margaret Tolland
Publisher: Page Break
RRP: $22 - available in shops now.