Saturday 2 June 2012

Who Ate Auntie Iris

Who Ate Auntie Iris? Who Ate Auntie Iris? by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Hannah Shaw (Walker Books)
HC RRP $ 29.95
ISBN 9781847802194
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

What has happened to Auntie Iris?  Only her hat has been found.  Do the bears on the first floor, the crocodile on the second floor, or the wolves on the third floor have anything to do with her disappearance? She went down from her fifth floor apartment to put out the rubbish and didn’t come back. Could the new neighbours that have moved into the fourth floor know anything?

This delightful and funny book is written in rhyming verse. It is narrated by a chinchilla, the nameless niece of Auntie Iris who lives in an apartment block with lots of scary animals for neighbours, any of which could easily gobble her up as a snack at any time. This is foremost in the chinchilla’s mind whenever she visits with her mother, for they too, could become a tasty snack.

But Auntie Iris is also a female. We find the answer to the mystery after many imaginings and lots of searching.

This is a beautifully produced book, illustrated with pen and ink and scanned textures. The jacket is identical to the book cover. Its front end pages depict dark shadows of the animals that live in the apartments through window frames. They are all eating. The back end pages are full of colour and light, entertaining poses of the same animals in the same poses as the front.

The black text on the pages freely gives over the space to the vibrant, full page, full colour illustrations and sometimes sits relaxed upon the coloured background. This is a highly entertaining story about things and situations not always being what they first seem, to read or be read to.

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