Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Riley and the Curious Koala
A surprise arrived in my letterbox yesterday... a copy of Tania McCartney's Riley and the Curious Koala!
Yes, Tania is a good friend of mine, but when it comes to books there is no such thing as bias. Reading is one of the most honest ways you can spend your time: if you like something, you like it. If you don't, there's no way to force it. And you certainly can't make a child like a book - there's a whole other level of honesty there.
With a picture book, there are many different aspects to take in. First, the cover.
The cover of Riley and the Curious Koala looks cute in the picture above, right? Well, wait til you see it in person - that mint (or Eucalyptus, rather) green is so gorgeous, so eye-catching and so classic-looking. Combine it with the black and white Sydney vista and glossy cartoon illustrations, and this is one irresistible looking book.
And then, when you can drag your eyes from the cover, you open to see page after page of loveliness and fun. Like its predecessors, this new Riley book is filled with stunning photographs and bright, vibrant illustrations, that just work so well together.
The characters - Riley and Panda and the friends they're gathering along the way, thus far Dragon and Lion - are cheekier than ever, and provide lots of laughs along the way.
As always the text is lively and full of interesting words that little ears soak up into growing vocabularies (and when you see more of Tania McCartney's work, you'll come to know that this is one of her trademarks).
Much of the fun in this book, though, is in what isn't said. The clever characterisations provide lots of laughs as each one experiences this adventure in their own way. And that koala... he's the star of the show, and he wouldn't have it any other way. Hiding somewhere on every page (Keiron Pratt and Tania must have had lots of fun finding ways to hide him!), kids will love the challenge of finding him and being able to spot his furry ears while Riley continues to search.
And then there's the bigger picture, so to speak - the concept. We all know kids have an inbuilt sense of adventure, and the Riley books help to encourage that. They introduce the concept of travelling to real places, and combining this with a good old-fashioned quest is a match that works so perfectly.
I love all the parts of this picture book - and the entire thing as a whole.
Oh, and I have my own cheeky little character running around the house with a new phrase: "Cheers, mate!"
Yep, she loves it too.
WIN a signed copy of Riley and the Curious Koala!
Click here to buy the book online.
(You can read my interview with Tania McCartney and go back over her blog tour to find out more about how the book came about.)
Posted at 11:27 AM