The Lipstick

Authored by Laura Dockrill
Illustrated by Maria Karipidou
Published by Walker Books

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The Lipstick: This is a wonderful tale of innocent mischief, a beautiful reminder of those moments when you just get lost in the joy of what you are doing with little care for the consequences. The story centres on a child left to find their own entertainment in a house where everyone else is busy. And when they find Mum’s posh, hot-pink lipstick, well, quite naturally, that becomes the entertainment as they take the lipstick for a little walk around the house.

It’s a simple story told in the voice of the young child with large and wonderfully colourful illustrations, which children will love to linger over, examining all the different details of the house and the objects in it as well as the lipstick doodles being drawn all over the walls. The narrative style – the internal monologue of a small child – acts to draw the reader in on the act, and together you get lost in the sheer joy of playing with this gloriously coloured, slightly forbidden treasure while no one is looking. Carried along in utter delight, judgement is abandoned, and lipstick images appear everywhere. You are carried through the book with a naughty thrill that happily overrides the nervous dread of what you know is coming – the discovery of what’s been done and the reckoning. As the spell is broken, appropriate amends are made (both for the lipstick art and the lack of supervision that led to it), but the sense of innocent joy is preserved, and the book ends with an appreciation of that.

There’s no overpowering message or theme to this book; instead, it is a book that you might pick up when you want to be carried along in a bit of fun; when you want to shake off the weight of the world and remember what it is like to be absorbed in something brilliant to the point that you forget everything around you. It comes out of my book basket a lot!

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