Thursday, October 11, 2012


Staff Review by Chris Saliba

What is the story about?

A circus wagon is coming to town, full of clowns and laughter. In the last wagon Pushka sleeps rather precariously in his little bed. Accidently his whole bed tumbles out of the wagon. Pushka sleeps on but eventually wakes up in some enchanted woods. It's getting dark and Pushka is scared. Pushka runs until he runs into a beautiful girl that dances under the stars.

The beautiful girl's name is Lulu.  Unfortunately, she's in the power of a cruel giant who manipulates her like a puppet. Lulu unwittingly leads Pushka into an oven where he is helplessly trapped. But meeting Pushka has changed Lulu: she's no longer scared of the cruel giant, and gets some helpful mice to gnaw away her puppet strings.

Lulu manages to set Pushka free, but the cruel giant is furious. It's dinner time and he was planning on eating Pushka! The two run off into the woods and are eventually saved by the circus wagon. Lulu and Pushka join together as circus performers and enchant children with their dancing and singing.

Who wrote and illustrated the book?

Pushka is written and illustrated by Stephen Mackey. He was been working as a commercial artist since 1989. His other books for children include Miki and Miki and the Moon Blossom.

Why I liked this book

The pictures in this book are beautiful and haunting, somewhat like the style of film maker Tim Burton (especially his animated works). Every page you turn is a stunning visual treat, rich in colour and mood. The story is a sweet one, but with some very dark edges. Some parts, especially when the cruel giant appears, actually scared me - and I'm forty-four years old!

A short film of Pushka by Stephen Mackey

If you click here, you can see a short film by Stephen Mackey made from storyboards he prepared for his book Pushka. The film includes extra bits that were not included in the finished book. 

Pushka, by Stephen Mackey. Published by Hodder Childrens. ISBN: 9781444901351   RRP: $16.99