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Clara lives in her balanced world where everything is perfect.
Her glasshouse is free of bugs, her prized pumpkins free of blemishes. But then one day a boy walks into her life and slowly Clara realises that her world is not perfect at all. Her paranoia spreads and she loses all her customers. Finally, she must face up to the realisation that her world is not perfect, and she must make allowances and compromise if she is to survive.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781921665042
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Book Review: Glasshouse by Paul Collins - Reviewed by Jottings (28 Oct 2010)
Suitable for all ages, The Glasshouse is one of those extraordinary picture books that can be read and appreciated on many levels.
Young children will love the beautiful illustrations and looking for bugs in the Glasshouse.
Middle Primary will delight in the fact they can read with minimal help and identify with Clara’s worries and fear of bugs.
Older children will relate to Clara’s insecurities about herself and how she deals with the pressure to be perfect.
Teenagers will understand Clara’s isolation and confusion and the deep feelings she has when her pumpkins are less than perfect – despite her best efforts to keep them under control.
Adults will appreciate the challenges facing Clara as she tries to protect her pumpkins and the consequences when there’s no time for nurture.
Everyone will recognise the dilemma facing Clara as she struggles with her choices and the courage needed to choose to step outside her comfort zone and change her life.
This story reminds us to be sympathetic and not judgemental. We are all doing the best we can in a modern world filled with choices and challenges – people who live in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones!
The Glasshouse is a stunning book, that encourages the reader to experience the story at their own level and draw their own conclusions … did she throw the stone and smash the glasshouse or does the stone remind her of the boy and prompt her to welcome new, positive, life experiences? You decide!
To see Clara, the beautiful, freckle faced, red haired star of the Glassshouse, animated – watch The Glasshouse trailer http://youtu.be/zTZMfrk2_jU
Book Review: Glasshouse by Paul Collins - Reviewed by juliettc (19 Oct 2010)
Clara lives in a glasshouse where she grows perfect pumpkins that attract buyers from far and wide. Like her pumpkins, Clara’s life is perfect—until the day she spies a stranger peering through her doorway. Curious, Clara wipes the mist from a perfect pane and glimpses the outside world for the first time. She is shocked to see the hills all around littered with shattered glasshouses. And so, just as the serpent brought darkness into the Garden of Eden, this strange boy has struck a dark fear into Clara’s heart: What happened to the other glasshouses? What if the same fate awaits her?
Over the coming weeks Clara becomes more and more afraid of losing her perfect world. She scours her glasshouse for cracks, insects—the slightest indication that all is not well. As a result of her manic behaviour fewer and fewer buyers come to buy her pumpkins, and before long, Clara’s wonderful world falls apart. However, when the boy returns he offers Clara something she has never been offered before—friendship and belonging.
By far the star here—both narratively and illustratively—is Clara. Thompson’s depiction of this character is almost uncanny in its accuracy: her soulful eyes in particular speak volumes. So, too, Thompson’s attention to detail, use of colour and focus are right on the money.
The Glasshouse is one of those rare stories that offers poignant insight into the human heart. Its message is Zen-like: The world is in a constant state of flux; nothing stays the same. So, too, it poses the question: Is perfection, however fleeting, worth the fear of losing it? Paradoxically, Clara’s fear is her undoing, yet it is also her saviour. And there is so much more squirreled away between Collins’s words. How he managed to say so much with so few words is really quite a feat.
I recommend this book to readers of all ages—adults included. This story is not only ageless, it is timeless.
Jenny Mounfield is the author of three novels for kids, her most recent title being: The Ice-cream Man (Ford St). She has been reviewing for Buzz Words since ’06.
Book Review: Glasshouse by Paul Collins - Reviewed by JelindelD (18 Oct 2010)
The Glasshouse is a lavishly illustrated and compelling story. The story of a little girl whose excessive pride in her pumpkins isolates her will resonate with children of all ages. Younger readers will be able to understand and identify with the young girl. Learning to share and to participate with others is an important component of the lower primary experience. Older readers will be able to see the implications of the girl’s behaviour on more complex levels. They will also be able to work with the idea of a glass house and the idea of a parable.
Teachers will be able to find a variety of uses for The Glasshouse in the classroom. Primary schools that employ the PYP will be able to incorporate it into any number of thematic units related to identity and community. Many schools use actual gardens to encourage students to consider how food is produced. This book would be relevant to many discussions arising from this type of enquiry. The wonderful illustrations will inspire children to draw and consider the way that colour can be used to suggest mood and tone.
But this is also simply a book to enjoy. Its bittersweet tone will resonate with students when it is read aloud in class or handed to a particular student during quiet reading. The Glasshouse is a special book that will become a favourite with many children.
Paul Collins is best known for The Quentaris Chronicles, The Jelindel Chronicles and The Earthborn Wars.Jo Thompson, prize-winning illustrator, artist and graphic designer, is passionate about picture books and runs Create a Kids' Book illustration workshops with Dr Virginia Lowe.
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