Available now in bookshops nationwide. Kate De Goldi will be at VicBooks in Kelburn this NZ Bookshop Day, at 2pm, talking about Annual.
As you open the Gecko Annual, you know you have something special in your hands. The endpapers are literally works of art – if a print of these exist, let me know, Gecko! The contents by Dylan Horrocks is an entirely unique way of approaching a contents page. I could ramble about the beauty of the contents ad nauseum, but instead of going through each story and page, I’m going to give you 10 good reasons to get a copy of Annual.
My favourite part of every Annual was always the cartoons, and the cartoon strips. ‘Bad Luck Zebra’ is a little bit of genius; ‘Holiday’, by Jonathan King is baffling and awesome; and ‘Parsley Magic’ takes some classic fairy tales and rewrites them. That was my 6-year-old’s favourite.
Editors Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris have ensured that the viewpoints put across in this collection are diverse and interesting, and the content is top-notch.
- Wonderful, quirky illustrations
You can’t go too far wrong when you’ve got side illustrations by Gavin Bishop, Sarah Wilkins, Giselle Clarkson, and Sarah Laing; and lots of fantastic artists I hadn’t previously heard of.
- How to look at art
Unexpectedly, these were some of my favourite sections. Nobody ever talked to me about how to look at art at school; still less shared choice aspects of NZ life through it.
- Old favourites, with new voices
Another story in the world of Fontania, from Barbara Else. Meanwhile, an adventure journal from Gavin Mouldey introduces an adventure tale I’d love to see continued elsewhere – and so would my 6-year-old son.
- How to write & illustrate
Paul Beavis can do very little wrong in my books, so it will be no surprise to find that I loved this short illustrated Monster-based section, telling young people how to create their own lead character and write and illustrate their own story.
- The unexpected
A piece of satire from Steve Braunias, a (very apt) song from Samuel Scott, a sad tale from Damien Wilkins, spot the similarities, the Rhyme Ninja… I love the Rhyme Ninja.
- New words
Kirsten McDougall’s ‘A Box of Birds’ was a trail of excitement for young Dan, as he asked the meaning of each new word as I read it! Such good words.
- Crafts from Fifi
My favourite craftsperson. I will say though, most of us would not be able to paint a lord and lady bottle person quite as elegantly as Fifi does! (I will undoubtedly be required to prove this at some point, I’ll post a pic if I have to.)
- A website to go with it
www.annualannual.com tells us how it came to be, all about the contributors (so the bios aren’t taking up all that space in the action-packed Annual), and the history of annuals.
And of course, did I mention that the editors are our beloved Kate De Goldi, and School Journal long-time editor Susan Paris? No? Well they are, and that is fantastic. I look forward to this becoming an annual institution.
Reviewed by Sarah Forster
edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris
Published by Gecko Press