Friday, 4 March 2011

Mozzie and Midgie

Mozzie and Midgie by Doug MacLeod, illustrated by Sandy Okalyi (Working Title Press)
HB RRP $24.95 
ISBN: 978 1 92150431 0
Reviewed by Jenny Mounfield

Mozzie and Midgie are a pair of spoonbills living with their family on an island off the Queensland coast. One day a vain parrot tells them they’re nothing special because they’re only black and white, not brightly coloured like him. “‘Let’s find a way of making ourselves beautiful,’ said Mozzie, who was three minutes older than Midgie and full of good ideas.” And so begins Mozzie and Midgie’s hilarious beautification project.

When I first encountered Okalyi’s blocky illustrations I confess to not being particularly fussed. However, seeing how much humour she has managed to infuse in these very simple pictures has convinced me of her incredible talent. I laughed out loud as Mozzie and Midgie made skirts from leaves and elaborate—and really quite lovely—crowns from soldier crabs. As the story progresses the pair’s creations get more and more outlandish, until finally they realise that they are perfectly special just as they are.

Humorous and succinct, MacLeod’s narrative is a seamless addition to Okalyi’s illustrations:

‘Now we look beautiful,’ said Mozzie.     
‘No,’ said Midgie. ‘We look like spoonbills with butterflies coming out of our bottoms.’

Mozzie and Midgie is not only great fun, but it contains a wisdom that will impact on children and adults alike. Without hesitation I give this one five stars. Highly recommended!

Jenny Mounfield is the author of three novels for kids, her most recent title being: The Ice-cream Man (Ford St). She has been reviewing for Buzz Words since ’06 and also contributes to The Compulsive Reader: 

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