Sunday, 3 March 2013

We’re Going on a Croc Hunt

We’re Going on a Croc Hunt by Laine Mitchell, illustrated by Louis Shea (Scholastic Australia)
HB RRP $19.99
ISBN 978-1-74283– 248-7
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

We’re Going on a Croc Hunt is a reinvention of a familiar catchy rhyme and has a strong Australian flavour.

The rhythmic refrain:

                                              We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. 
                                                      We’ll have to go through it!

is unaltered, but the obstacles have been cleverly changed to reflect the Australian landscape. Waterholes, hot trickly sand, and spiky brown scrub now bar the way for the adventurous heroes.

I love Louis Shea’s bright, bold and comic style of illustration. He has a talent for animals – these are so full of expression and character that you feel you know them already as the string of six brave friends set off in search of a croc. They take turns to the lead and as they travel further into the adventure, some of the friends drop off, unable to get through an obstacle.

There is so much to look at in the illustrations. What happens on the periphery of the action is fun too. Yabbies are nipping at the devil’s toes, lizards are frying insects on a hot rock in the desert and I love the luminescent frogs in the swamp. The stunned expression on the face of a firefly as a fat frog sleepily shoots out his tongue and wraps it around the poor insects body is fabulous. And all the time the heroes are going ‘sneaky, sneak, sneaky, sneak’ through the dark, spooky swamp.
The last line of the story is a wonderful surprise.

Play the included CD and sing along with children’s entertainer Jay Laga’aia, in a humorous and lively version of this well-known song. This can be read, re-read, chanted, acted out and listened to over and over again. For pre-school aged children.


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