Chris McKimmie uses his unique style and imagination to tackle the Brisbane Floods from the perspective of young Alex, thus creating a highly compelling and creative picture book, Alex and The Watermelon Boat.
The rain is pouring. It’s so loud Alex’s family have to shout to be heard. Despite warnings to the contrary Alex decides he simply must go outside to find rabbit, and that he must do so in a watermelon boat … of course!
“Outside the river had burst its banks. The dam was overflowing. The water was rising.”
The watermelon boat enables Alex to step outside and float through his town observing the bizarreness of the changing landscape – people on roofs, empty shops, pots “being washed away forever” and even a ukulele drifting past. Chris sensitively tackles the floods from the perspective of a young child. He gives a voice to the many images they may absorb from television headlines and the front pages of newspapers.
The imaginative approach Chris adopts with the storyline is also reflected in his chosen illustrations. Chris McKimmie’s illustrative approach is to indulge in a plethora of mixed media and through it he has achieved striking results. Each page is awash with pencil drawings, collage effects and mixed typography to name just three. On the final page Chris has thoughtfully provided a handwritten list of the 17 different media he, Alex and Maisie have used! Such attention to detail and concern over the end papers mean this is a picture book with a lot to offer.