Fourteen preschoolers, two Indigenous books and a LOT of excitement

Magabala Books recently sent me two children’s books to review – Return of the Dinosaurs and Cheeky Animals. I find it hard to review kids’ books because in the end, it doesn’t really matter whether I like the book!

Then I thought, who better to review these books than Master Five and his pals from kindergarten. So last week I headed into his early learning centre to do a group reading with him and his classmates.

I was actually a bit nervous as I walked through the doors.  What if other kids aren’t as into books as mine? Would they find me dull? Do five-year olds heckle?

Existentialism and Where’s Wally?

My two boys have recently become obsessed with a box set of Where’s Wally? (or Where’s Waldo? for our North American friends).  There are seven books in the set; as you progress from book to book the scenes become more complicated and it gets increasingly trickier to find the characters.  For the uninitiated, it’s not just Wally, by the way, there’s Odlaw, Gwenda, Woof and Wizard Whitebeard.

I’ve always found Where’s Wally? a bit intense.  I realised this week why – it’s just one big allegory for life.

Little Golden Books: when nostalgia just isn’t enough

I like to pick up Little Golden Books every now and then.  I have some lovely memories of reading The Pokey Little Puppy and the one about Scuffy the Tugboat.  But not long ago, I came across a Little Golden Book titled A Wedding is Beautiful.  As an observer, it would have been a comic moment to have witnessed that precise moment when, as I flicked through the pages, my smile of nostalgia turned to a frown of misgiving.

A Wedding is Beautiful is not one of those ‘timeless’ children’s books.  Opening these pages was like being sucked back to the 1980s, but not in a good way.

Gigantosaurus, by Jonny Duddle

Review by Charlie, aged five

There are four dinosaurs and they follow footprints.  Bonehead tricks the others.  He tells them the Gigantosaurus is coming and four times it doesn’t.  But one time, it is the Gigantosaurus and they run.  I like Tiny, the baby Stegosaurus, and I like it when the Gigantosaurus really does come. ….  I wish we could have this book forever.