Available in bookshops nationwide.
Helper Helper is shortlisted for the Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
I am almost ashamed to say that I had not read any Lizard and Snake stories before this collection. In my defence, my work was mostly with older teenagers, so I think I can be forgiven!
However, what quirky, credible characters these two are. A bit slippery, on the one hand, but good friends working mostly together. Sounds familiar? Joy Cowley has a very accomplished way of working a little morality, a lot of humanity and a great understanding of human behaviour into each story in this collection. There’s also much clever humour, and occasionally a small measure of sadness.
The fabulous illustrations by Gavin Bishop contribute a great deal to the book, picking up on small details and bringing the characters to life in a delightful way. The endpapers are particularly worth a look!
It’s a wonderful collection and brings to mind the gentle fables of Aesop. It also brought to my mind the less gentle Cautionary Tales by Hilaire Belloc. I wonder if they are still popular, with their grim punishments for bad behaviour? I imagine that modern children will prefer Snake and Lizard.
It’s another great publication from Gecko Press, and I hope that there are more stories still to come from Joy Cowley about these unlikely best friends. Most deservedly a nominee for the NZ Children’s Book Awards.
Reviewed by Sue Esterman
Helper and Helper
by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop
Published by Gecko Press