Review of ‘Little Blue’


Review of ‘Little Blue’

Written and Illustrated by Gaye Chapman

Age Range: Early Childhood – Middle Primary

Themes: Adventure, feelings, friends, imagination, grandparents, art

Awards: 2009 Queensland Premier’s Literature Awards, Children’s Book Category

Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book 2009

Publisher: Little Hare

I rather adore this book – in fact that is an understatement. It could be that I also rather adore old crockery, so what could be better than old crockery and a gorgeous story rolled into one?  The idea for this story is quirky and original; it is the complete package for me.Little Blue and Berry Tea

‘Little Blue’ is a retelling of the Willow pattern story, the blue and white crockery with intricate Asian patterns and scenes that many of you will be familiar with. It was designed by Thomas Minton around 1790 and has been a favourite of collectors since that time. Over the years there have been many stories told about the origin of the images on the plates, and a number of books are based on these stories.

In ‘Little Blue’ a young boy finds a young girl (Little Blue) lost in the forest outside his home. The young boy offers to take her to his house, and when they arrive there the boys grandmother is speechless with delight on seeing Little Blue. As is turns out Little Blue is a ‘chink’ from the grandmothers Willow plate. There are clues throughout the story as to who Little Blue really is and young children will delight in uncovering these clues on subsequent re readings.

Gaye Chapman’s illustrations are as intricate as the Willow plates themselves…the endpapers of the book are my favourites.

Little Blue

Around the time this book was published I was at a Children’s Book Council conference in Melbourne and the publisher, Little Hare had a stand with posters of Little Blue and gorgeous postcards. Slightly lunatic style, I begged the poor man for copies of each. He gave me quite a bundle, probably to get rid of me quickly! ChickPea/Georgia’s middle name is Willow so these posters and postcards now hang in her room, along with her miniature Willow tea set, a present from Nonna and Papa for her first birthday.ChickPea Willow's wall in her room with Little Blue and Willow tea set

PudStar and I often read Little Blue and then having a cup of berry tea using Chickpeas teaset. It’s quite fragile but as PudStar has pointed out; if it breaks we can pretend it’s like in the book.

 To add ‘Little Blue’ to your home, school or library collection you can Click Here

The origninal large format hardback is below


The gift edition is here


Follow it up in the home, classroom or library:

Look at your crockery at home for other ‘characters’ that might possibly have a life beyond their plate or cup! Pudstar is fairly convinced that The Little Red Hen from her favourite baby cinno cup visits our chickens in the backyard at night. She checks most morning to see that The Little Red Hen has returned to her place on the cup.

Make a Willow pattern plate on a paper plate. There is a nice template on the Little Big Book Club site. At school I created a whole wall of plates with this template: each child completing one until we had a lovely display of mis matched crockery.

Create a blue and white display or scene for Little Blue to enjoy on your dressing table or in your library or classroom.

Create a collage of blue and white materials and paints.

Discuss and/or write a list of words about how Little Blue must have felt when she was lost, and then a list of words for when she was found.

Read some other books which Gaye Chapman has illustrated like My Sister Olive and Precious Little. Compare her illustrative style.

Draw a map of Little Blues journey home.

Recreate the Willow plate on round card, laminate and cut up to make a puzzle.

The titles of each book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.


  1. Hi Megan,

    That is a beautiful tea set! The illustrations in the book are so gorgeous. I’ve never seen that book before, so I’m glad you linked this into the Kid Lit Blog Hop. BTW, my daughter’s middle name is Willow too! I’m a new follower – by email and all the others too. Looking forward to connecting with you. Thanks for visiting us. 🙂

    • Willow is a GREAT name isn’t it! We do rather love the teaset. Australian book by one of my FAVOURITE illustrators…there is a lovely gift edition now and I buy it for all new babies! Love your blog and yes following you by all means now also…lovely to connect with people who adore childrens books.

  2. Hi Megan
    What a wonderful post. I absolutely love anything that has an Asian theme especially drawings. Thanks for linking into the kidlit blog hop. Exciting to find another Aussie, there are a few of us on the hop now, so it would be great to see you again, cheers Julie.

    • Hi Julie! Yes I love Asian themed illustrations…I LOVE Sally Rippins illustrations for this reason! My latest post was about two of her books, for Chinese New Year. Will check out your blog etc now! Lovely to meet you.


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