Author trivia and deep thoughts were characteristic of the St Clair and Erskine Park Schools learning community's first Book Week forum.
Two students from each of the group's five primary and two high schools staged a discussion of The Children's Book Council of Australia's Book of the Year 2014 picture book shortlist on Tuesday at Banks Public School.
The forum was moderated by WestWords project officer Judith Ridge.
"The picture book form is such a wonderful, flexible form for artists and writers to work with that it's no surprise that more sophisticated ideas have found their home in the picture book category," she said.
"People think that picture books are for younger kids but they're not always."
Power and leadership dominated talk of Nick Bland's King Pig, about a bossy king who needs to rethink his attitude when a small voice among his sheep subjects suggests he "try being nice".
Pupils were given six minutes to answer questions on the six finalists and introduced each book with a film trailer they had made. Erskine Park High school's atmospheric trailer for eventual category winner, Shaun Tan's Rules of Summer, mirrored the book's uncertain tone.
The book is described as "a deceptively simple story about two boys, one older and one younger, and the kind of 'rules' that might govern any relationship between close friends or siblings".
Bob Graham's Silver Buttons, shows little details from daily life to create a bigger picture which Reece Robinson, in year 6, enjoyed.
"I liked that the illustrations were sketched and shaded instead of normally coloured," she said.
What the students said about these shortlisted titles:
Parachute by Danny Parker and Matt Ottley:
‘‘The message is that sometimes saving your friend can be more important than your fears.’’
Jacinta Buhagiar, James Erskine Public School
‘‘At the beginning of the book it says that the boy needs his parachute just to get out of bed. He has a bunk bed and in the image it appears to be up in the clouds, whereas it’s only a few metres off the ground.’’
Justin Sultana, Clairgate Public School
King Pig by Nick Bland:
‘‘The sheep didn’t have any respect for the pig. I think the book teaches people to think about other people and not just yourself.’’
Reece Robinson, Blackwell Public School
‘‘Behind the scenes of the story maybe the sheep don’t have a choice. Maybe there’s punishment if they don’t do what the king wants.’’
‘‘I think it’s quite similar to The Windy Farm because both have pigs and the lesson of don’t be greedy and be friendly.’’
Georgia Gorringe, Banks Public School
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan:
‘‘I think the rules of summer are what you believe. You don’t have a specific set of rules, the rules can be whatever you’d like them to be.’’
Hayley Mician, St Clair Public School
■The STEPS learning community includes Banks Public School, Blackwell Public School, Clairgate Public School, James Erskine Public School, St Clair Public School, St Clair High School and Erskine Park High School.