Tania McCartney – Plume festival seeker

Hardie Grant Explore, Australia, 2022
Design Jo Hunt and Tania McCartney

Author-illustrator Tania McCartney’s Plume series is now in its third iteration with Plume festival seeker. This is an ebullient and colourful picture book brimming with the author’s zest for sharing the joy of books, travel and words.

Tania McCartney talks to Barbie about Plume festival seeker

Like its predecessors, it carries a strong sense of joie de vivre that will delight its readers, young and older.

Both the text and the visual narrative are strong; they marry but each also holds its own. This is so important for the picture book form because it provides access to the story no matter the reading level of the child. This richness of text and allusion is also crucial for the enjoyment of the adult participant in the reading experience.

In this book Plume is bent on finding a year of festivals and tries to interest his fellows from Antarctica in joining his journeys – to no avail as they’d rather stay home. The book takes young readers to ten countries as diverse as Scotland and Costa Rica and focusses on celebrations that are not always the most well-known.

Tania uses the language of each country to name the festival – Pascuas, Holi, Up Helly Aa and so on, and includes the traditions of each celebration – fireworks, costumes, throwing coloured dye powder and floral carpets.

Every page is chockers with bright colour and details which children will love to discover. Both children and adults appear in these pictures along with multitudes of very sweet penguins. Ava the albatross as previously provides the international transport.

The final celebration is very much about family and friendship, a perfect Christmas message and absolutely in keeping with Plume’s character – he never forces his community along but also never forgets them. He always includes them in his experiences by bringing back tales and treats.

Books like this are important for children and their adults as they contain plenty of substance and can be read over and over with lots still to discover each time. They are beautifully wrapped educational tools communicating the importance of tradition and literacy in the most palatable way, embracing our differences and similarities with gusto.

We’ll all want to board an albatross for Tania’s destinations as soon as we can.

Thank you Hardie Grant for my review copy and Tania for always making time to speak with me about books, literacy and the importance of joy in these things.