The Incredible Freedom Machines
About the book
In this sumptuous story of exploration and breaking boundaries, a young girl uncovers her very own freedom machine—a vehicle that carries her to all kinds of wondrous places. A poetic and visual feast from talented debut author Kirli Saunders and multi-award winning illustrator Matt Ottley.
About the author
Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai woman. She is an award-winning, international children’s author, poet, emerging playwright and artist. Kirli manages Poetry in First Languages and Poetic Learning at Red Room Poetry. Her picture books include Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) nominated and internationally published, The Incredible Freedom Machines (Scholastic Australia) and forthcoming, Our Dreaming and Happy Every After (Scholastic Australia). Her poetry Collection, Kindred was Highly Commended in Black&Write 2018. Kirli was the inaugural winner of the WA 2019 Premier’s Literary Awards – Daisy Utemmorah Award and was Runner-up in the Nakata Brophy Prize 2018. She was guest writer for the Australian Embassy, touring Jakarta and Bali in 2019. She returns as writer in residence at The Literature Centre, Fremantle to perform The Incredible Freedom Machines with Matt Ottley and the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra.
About the illustrator
Matt Ottley is a multi-award-winning picture book creator and musician. This is Matt's second book with Scholastic Press. His first, Teacup (text by Rebecca Young) was the winner of the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature, 2016, and has most recently been named as the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Australia Honour Book for IIlustration, 2018.
This beautiful picture book celebrates creativity and the ability of the imagination to transcend the boundaries of our everyday lives.
While searching for her very own freedom machine, a young girl encounters many visually stunning—and obviously powerful—space-age vehicles that are skilfully juxtaposed against the shabbiness of the caravan park where she lives, a place that is bleak and 'sawn together by boundaries'. Many of these amazing freedom machines are not quite right for her but she persists and ultimately finds a vehicle ready to transport her (and the reader) to places of wonder and unlimited possibility. These 'most abundant untouched places' enable her to realise her dreams and help her return to her own world feeling whole. In a sense her journey mirrors the experience of many readers as they search for the most appropriate stories that will help them find their own identities and a sense of completeness.
A seamless collaboration between words and surreal, often whimsical images, this book is a work of art. From the outset the cover communicates the courage and determination of the young girl with her bold stance and outward gaze. While the words are minimalist, each is eloquent and thoughtfully chosen by first-time Indigenous author Kirli Saunders. Coupled with the vibrant images, many reaching across double pages, the story creates a sense of the vastness and beauty of the Australian landscape. Colour and light are used skilfully and each opening reveals additional layers and ambiguities that can and should be explored at length. Multiple readings are a must. The images are brilliantly rendered by award-winning illustrator Matt Ottley, who has embedded inter-pictorial references to his own work as well as to that of a number of other famous Australian artists including Russell Drysdale, Fred Williams and Shaun Tan.