The Old Frangipani Tree at Flying Fish Point

Frangipani - Trina Saffiot

This gorgeous picture book will entrance you from the moment you open the hard cover when you’ll be engulfed by images of delicate flowers cascading towards you from the frangipani tree nestled behind. Set against a background of warm swirly reds and oranges these delightful hues echo the warm, heartening family relationships that are depicted within the pages of the Old Frangipani Tree at Flying Fish Point.

Trina Saffioti, a descendant of the Gugu Yulangi people of North Queensland, pens a true story about her mother as a young girl preparing for the Flying Fish Point School’s fancy dress carnival.

We’ve all been there at some point, because fancy dress days always seem such a great idea in principal … but when it comes to actually putting something great together, well that takes a lot. And then there’s the stepping out in the ‘great’ creation … catching glimpses of the other costumes, whilst that thread of self doubt seeps through. Trina Saffioti captures this all effortlessly.

Little Faithy is convinced by her sisters to dress “as an island princess.” Buying an extravagent costume is not an option, nevermind because before long Faithy is surrounded by offers from everywhere …. Aunt Trina’s sheet for a sarong, Uncle Bills’ ukulele, make-up from Mrs Dellabraca … it really is a community effort in ensuring Faithy is,

“the most beautiful island princess ever”

Does Faithy win? You’ll have to delve in to the pages of this picture book to discover that for yourself!

Aaah the image of the frangipani flowers overflowing from the basket on the window sill whilst passers by pause to inhale the exotic scent … Maggie Prewett’s illustrations are magically evocative!

I love that this is a story passed down from Tina’s mother to her, and now to us… and so it continues. Beautiful.

The Old Frangipani Tree at Flying Fish Point is a featured titled on our list of the Best Mother’s Day Books.


Trina Saffioti
Maggie Prewett
Magabala Books

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