Book Review: The penguins are coming!, by Meg McKinlay & Mark Jackson

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_the_penguins_are_coming.jpgThe zoo is expecting some penguins to arrive and a squirrel is confused – what exactly is a penguin?  This begins a crazy story where all the animals contribute their preposterous ideas which become more absurd with each turn of the page.

The illustrations perfectly capture the cheerful nature of the story.  They are full of life and colour.  The animation of the animals creates a playful scene for the silliness.  There is even a kiwi to spot for the eagle eyed!  Little dream bubbles accompany the animals as they imagine what a penguin is.

Children will love becoming the expert to correct the zoo animals and share their knowledge.  And they don’t need to know much about penguins to be the expert – according to the otters they travel south to get away from the snow but stop for pizza on the way.  Later on the pelicans tell us the penguins don’t like water!

Each animal has an opinion but nobody knows what to expect.  Eventually the zoo keeper steps in and contributes knowledge by correcting the animals.  This is a great way to introduce facts into the fictional book.  But wait for the twist at the end when the penguins arrive!

This is a great book to share out loud and a hilarious addition to any young child’s bookshelf.

Reviewed by Sara Croft

The penguins are coming!
by Meg McKinlay & Mark Jackson
Published by Walker Books
9781760650391

Book Review: DUCK!, by Meg McKinlay & Nathaniel Eckstrom

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_duckIt was a quiet afternoon on the farm, when suddenly… DUCK! The farm animals are disturbed by a loud and obnoxious duck shouting his own name at them. When the other animals try to explain to the duck that they are not ducks the duck only grows louder and more insistent. Is the duck not listening to his fellow farm animals or are they not listening to his warning.

Meg McKinlay’s DUCK! Is a funny story that explores the unfortunate consequences of a bunch of animals who misunderstand their fellow farm friend’s warning. The repetition and exclamations of DUCK! invites young children to participate and the humorous descriptive language is very appealing to this audience. Nathaniel Eckstrom’s charming illustrations which set the farm in the middle of autumn include subtle foreshadowing of the disaster that is about to strike and a clever reference to a well known movie.

If you’re looking for a great read aloud book then DUCK! is the book you’re looking for. Children will find themselves joining in shouting “DUCK!” and having a gasp and a giggle at the slightly shocking ending!

Reviewed by Alana Bird

DUCK!
by Meg McKinlay
Published by Walker Books
ISBN 9781925381535

Book Review: Once Upon A Small Rhinoceros, by Meg McKinlay

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

cv_once_upon_a_small_rhinocerosThis whimsical book brought a smile to my face with its positivity, determination and adventure of the small rhinoceros heading out to explore the world.

We meet a young rhinoceros who is delightfully personified in the illustrations but still remains a rhinoceros (thankfully she is not given some cutesy name! – this book never becomes cheesy or juvenile).  And did I mention she is a girl? – great to see girls represented in powerful roles in picture books.

The young rhinoceros lives with the other rhinos next to a river which bring the sights and smells of faraway lands to her rhinoceros world filled with mud, grass and trees.  The other rhinoceroses tell her that this is all she needs, that she is crazy to dream of anything more.

The young rhinoceros smiles and agrees as she continues to collect the supplies she needs to go adventuring – she never loses her dream.  We watch her build a boat before setting sail down the river and over the ocean.  She sails through the day and after each night, through summer and winter.  We see the rhinoceros exploring the world – everywhere is represented (so much to discuss in the illustrations!).

Eventually she has seen more things than a rhinoceros could ever imagine and returns home where the rhinoceroses are waiting.  The rhinoceroses continue to show their lack understanding of her adventures but another little voice speaks up to ask if it was wonderful.  The young rhinoceros becomes a role model of the possibility of the next little rhinoceros being an explorer too.

A tale beautifully told through dialogue and poetic language.  All ages can follow along because the illustrations clearly tell the story through delightful sketches and watercolours.  It is one of the true treasures of children’s picture books – all ages will find something to love in this book, including the adult reader!  This is a story which will be a fantastic addition to any bedtime collection (especially for anyone who likes to dream big and be an explorer in the world).

Reviewed by Sara Croft

Once Upon A Small Rhinoceros
by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Leila Rudge
Published by Walker Books
ISBN 9781925126709