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Pixie O'Harris Award

The Fruits of Octopus

12 July 2020

Mandy Tootell's wonderful Yellow Truck Road Train has now been published by Allen & Unwin. It was launched in spectacular fashion at the KICS literacy festival in Katherine on June 30. Also celebrated were Bigismob Jigiwan Dog, the Kriol edition of Johanna Bell and Dion Beasley's Too Many Cheeky Dogs, read on the day by Meigim Kriol Strongbala, and Johanna Bell's beautiful new picture book, illustrated by Laura Stizel The Colour Catchers.

Thank you, dear Yo, brilliant architect of the Octopus Story Camp for sharing these words from Craig and me (sadly unable to be there in person due to coronavirus restrictions) in honour of Mandy:

We wish we were there with you today to celebrate your magnificent book with you and your family and the beautiful community of the north, which we will always feel a little bit part of.

Octopus was all about ‘what if’. What a buzz it was to be present when the idea for Yellow Truck Road Train struck like an NT lightning bolt! From our southern perspective, the idea of a truckload of buffalo was totally exotic, even as it was part of your everyday life. It’s sometimes tricky for authors and illustrators to find the right vehicle for their idea. In your case, your idea's vehicle was the vehicle itself! The minute you mentioned the words ‘yellow truck road train’ we could all Immediately see the book, through the eyes of a child, and sense its magnetic appeal. That is the magic of a great idea!

Seeing you apply yourself with such talent and dedication to the logistics of crafting the story and developing the illustrations was so joyfully impressive. I couldn’t wait to race down the highway back to Melbourne to share your creation with the Allen & Unwin team, who immediately fell in love with Yellow Truck Road Train as well. 

On behalf of Craig and myself, Hilary, Jo, Eva and everyone at Allen & Unwin we send you huge congratulations on the publication of your book, which has truly fulfilled its promise.

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