With eleven successful picture books under her belt, including a Joy Cowley award winner, author Lucy Davey can truly be considered one of New Zealand’s top children’s authors. When it comes to writing fun and engaging stories for youngsters, she knows her stuff. I jumped at the chance to read her latest treasure, having admired her previous wonderful works; A Right Royal Christmas remains a big favourite.
I’m happy to report The Bee’s Sneeze does not disappoint. Davey is a highly skilled rhymer, the kind who makes it seem easy-peasy and her flowing, skipping rhythm is a joy to the ear. She clearly has lots of fun creating her characters and their rollicking adventures as fun shines through her work. Her use of language is a cause for real enjoyment with curious and delightful words slipping in such as figliciously, kersploof and Tootletuff. They don’t always make sense, but then again, they don’t have to. This joy of playing with words and language will flow on to readers and draws them in to a friendly and appealing story. The pages are filled with alliterative phrases such as a friendful of fuzz (what a gorgeous way to describe a bear!), nectary nip all adding to the rolling, playful verse.
As a hayfever sufferer, I had plenty of sympathy for the characters; try as they might to overcome it, no-one is immune to the Tootletuff bloom. Even crocodile can’t stop that teasy sneeze! A repeated refrain throughout builds the action to a dramatic and loudly chorused ACHOO, which will no doubt be shouted out with gusto from young readers.
The Bee’s Sneeze is the second collaboration between Lucy Davey and illustrator Katz Cowley and this book is a follow-on from The Fidgety Itch, another fun rhyming romp.
Cowley, an award winning illustrator, has illustrated seven New Zealand picture books including the very successful one about a certain three legged, one eyed donkey. Her water colour illustrations of big eyed and friendly animals match perfectly with the text. Their expressions as they try to hold off the big sneeze are so cute and relatable they are almost human like! Now living in the UK, I hope she will continue to bring life to books for Kiwi kids.
This story is sure to be a big hit – fun rhyme and gorgeous illustrations brought together in one engaging and delightful package.
Reviewed by Vanessa Hatley-Owen
The Bee’s Sneeze
By Lucy Davey, illustrated by Katz Cowley