A Bird in the Hand: a Bob Graham Retrospective


You’d be hard-pressed to find a library that doesn’t include the work of Bob Graham. His stories are charming and his illustrations have a gentleness that is instantly recognisable.

The Canberra Museum and Gallery presents a unique opportunity to see Bob Graham’s precious manuscripts, memorabilia, and original illustrations in a new exhibition, A Bird in the Hand: a Bob Graham Retrospective.

Featuring illustrations from books including Greetings from Sandy Beach; Max; Let’s Get a Pup; and How to Heal a Broken Wing, the collection showcases Graham’s amazing thirty-year career making picture books that have become Australian classics. The exhibition also includes slice-of -life snippets from Graham’s sketch books – the genesis of so many of his published works – and offers a rare insight into his creative practice.


Graham’s books have been highly acclaimed nationally and internationally, including winning The UNICEF Bologna Illustrator of the Year (Italy); The Kate Greenaway Medal (UK) and many of the Children’s Book Council of Australia ‘s Book of the Year Awards. Graham was also nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal (IBBY).

Graham likes his books to speak for themselves, however, in his own eloquent fashion, he suggests, ‘‘I like my books to be quiet because this is my experience in life. I just take some small seemingly insignificant event and concentrate on that, making the ordinary not extraordinary, but slightly more than ordinary…”

For young kids, there might not be a better introduction to visiting a gallery than this exhibition! A Bird in the Hand: a Bob Graham Retrospective is on until 24 August, 2014 at the Canberra Museum and Gallery in Canberra.

If you’re wanting to add to your personal Bob Graham library, see a full range of titles online at Book Depository, or check out our previous reviews of Silver Buttons and April Underhill, Tooth Fairy.


Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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