Book Review: Yak and Gnu, by Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Cat Chapman

Available in bookstores nationwide.
Juliette MacIver is a New Zealand children’s author – Marmaduke Duke on the Wide Blue Sea, The Moose and the Goose and Toucan Can being just a few of the books she has written. She lives in Titahi Bay, Wellington with her husband and four children.

Cat Chapman grew up in the Waikato but now lives in Auckland. She worked for a number of years at a design company, but in 2010 attended a night course in children’s illustration. She now works full-time as an illustrator for Walker Books. Cat loves working with ink, pen and water colour.

I have to start right off by saying that this is a very funny book. The style of it brings to mind the work of Dr Seuss, and even Roald Dahl to some extent. Both authors are of course great favourites of all members of our family.

This is a story about two friends Yak and Gnu who both love to row down the river.

Off they go.

Yak in a kayak, blackberry-black,
Gnu in a blueberry-blue canoe,
sing a song that’s sung by two:
“Yippee-ai, Yak!”
“Woo hoo, Gnu!”
“There are no other beasts
like me and you”
“No one else
but you and me
can float a boat
or sail the sea”

They meet a goat in a boat, a snazzy snail setting sail, a laughing calf aboard a raft, a nasty stingy on a rusty dingy. Others follow in this lovely story which enraptured the four-year-old I read this to. The illustrations are stunning and I can truthfully say that both of us were laughing at the antics of Yak and Gnu.

A wonderful, must-buy book for any child’s library.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Yak and Gnu
by Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Cat Chapman
Published by Walker Books
ISBN 9781922077684