This book is an insightful and empathetic story of a child’s experiences moving to a new world. It demonstrates children’s innate curiosity and their ability to seize an opportunity to make a new friend.
Cartwheel is a young girl escaping a war-torn country. It follows her experiences as she adjusts to a new culture and ultimately a new world. Cartwheel’s chance encounter with a little girl in a park is a pivotal part of the story as it leads to their friendship. She learns the language from her new friend and becomes more comfortable with combining her two worlds. Symbolism represented through Cartwheel’s metaphorical blanket encapsulates memories of her old world while the creation of a new blanket represents her new world.
Kobald is an Austrian-Australian author, who possibly draws on some of her own experiences and emotions of immigrating to a new country. The story’s first person narrator enables the reader to develop a deep connection to the main character, Cartwheel. Figurative language and similes allow the reader to experience this new world.
Blackwood uses watercolour, oil and collage to create powerful images. Red, orange and brown colours are a motif for Cartwheel, contrasting her old world with pastel colours representing her new world. The last page celebrates acceptance and multiculturalism as the scene merges both colours. The different languages are portrayed through paper cut out drawings in the air which first appear on page six then continue when dialogue appears. The end papers at the beginning of the book are plain red representing Cartwheel’s old world while the end pages are a pastel green representing her new world. The cover of this particular edition has a faint underlay of Cartwheel’s new blanket.
‘My Two Blankets’ was the 2015 winner of The Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award. It is widely translated.