Available in bookshops nationwide.
Vasanti Unka is an all-round creative from Auckland who has written and illustrated her latest book Stripes! No, Spots! From end-paper to end-paper the design is strongly optimistic and beautiful. Each page of the book is so thoughtfully designed, that each time I opened it I wished that the book came with an associated range of gift-wrapping paper and cards.
Stripy Tiger and Spotty Leopard have a minor disagreement as to which is better – stripes – or, spots?! The disagreement escalates into progressively worse fights, all out jungle war and then, of all things, a fashion show. The number of references in the book subtly linking to popular culture were hilarious – and the unstated tendency of the animals to follow the human tendency for cycles of unnecessary conflict was clever. There is even a special guest appearance by a human!
My five-year-old enjoyed the story. While she couldn’t work out why the animals’ fights would escalate so quickly (strange – because for parents of more than one child the fight feels somewhat familiar) she thought the fashion show to settle the conflict was the fairest way to resolve matters.
Vasanti Unka has written and/or illustrated a number of other books – I’ve always loved the illustrations in Hill, not Hole. She is also the author and illustrator of The Boring Book, which was the 2014 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year. I’ve also just clicked that a favourite craft book of mine – Weird Wabbit & Friends, is one of hers. Children aged 2-6 will enjoy the story and pictures.
Reviewed by Emma Wong-Ming
Stripes! No, Spots!
Written and illustrated by Vasanti Unka
Published by Puffin