tbabwendy

“Ieeeeee!” yells the parent.
The child’s eyes widen, wondering why the character in the book screamed so loud.
She has read this story to her sibling many times before, but for her daughter every time is like the first.
She passionately continues reading the children’s book of Wendy Hartmann while her child studies the illustrations carefully. She is from Table View.
“Look,” exclaims the mother. “She jumped right out of her beautiful shoes!”
Her child gasps and then improvises an innocent song about Sisi right there and then.
Hartmann’s newly released book Sisi goes to school and other stories is proving to be a hit with youngsters and even with a few adults.

The 4-year-old wonders about the bunny-rabbit called Sisi who has to go to school and Marana is fascinated by the characters’ shoes.
Both seem engrossed in the tale.
It is clear that Wendy’s book, which is delightfully complemented by Joan Rankin’s watercolour paintings, awakes the child in each of us.
This alone is reason enough for the 66-year-old Wendy to do what she does.
“If you can still appreciate things and feelings through the eyes of a child then you’re well on your way being an adult,” muses Wendy.
While she was writing her latest work, the second book of the Sisi collection, the trick was to live up to this philosophy and let the child within her speak louder than her responsible adult voice.
“I had to resolve Sisi resolving her own fear of going to school for the first time. It was so difficult to get her to handle it in a way that you’re not telling a child to handle it,” says Wendy.

This of course clinched it for the scared sister.
If her younger brother isn’t afraid then it stands to reason that she is not afraid and, in fact, never was.
“Adults tend to forget the little things and battles they went through as a child. One shouldn’t! If you remember it then you are able to assist the next person so much better.”
When Wendy was asked whether she can remember the start of her own school adventure she responded: “I remember parts of it… I mean, heavens, I’m 66!”
Sisi’s story would not have been nearly as compelling were it not for Joan’s illustrations.
Marana’s daughter just needs one moment to look at the picture before she knows infinitely more than what is revealed in black and white.
Wendy admits that Joan’s illustrations are stunning.
Getting the message through to a child is clearly a team effort on a grand scale.
The writer conceptualises, illustrator visualises, publisher realises, parent dramatises and the child fantasises.
Sisi speaks to us all.
***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. IT MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

 

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