Thursday 18 April 2013

Somewhere in Australia

Somewhere in Australia by Marcello Pennacchio, illustrated by Danny Snell (Scholastic Australia)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74169– 522-9
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

There are many picture books available at the moment that are based on classic rhymes or songs. Some lack something and do not work so well, whereas others use the original to create a story which has its own point of difference and unique quality.

Somewhere in Australia is one of the latter. The author has used Australian animals and habitats to reinvent the classic children’s rhyme Down in the Meadow. Some of the animals chosen are iconic – such as the kookaburra, platypus and kangaroo – and some of them are lesser known – the thorny devil, red-back spider and the death adder – but all of them are uniquely Australian and all of them are placed in the beautifully placed in their settings.

In the Blue Mountains of Australia, near a Wollemi Pine,
lived a mother green frog and her little froglets nine.
‘Jump,’ said the mother. ‘We jump,’ said the nine,
as they jumped and they leaped near a Wollemi pine.

The rhythm is not perfect but it is close, and the actions of each animal will delight young listeners. The counting element and the gorgeous pictures of animals with their babies will also appeal.

This hardcover book would make a wonderful gift, especially to overseas friends. It showcases the diversity of Australia’s natural environment, it’s fun to read out loud and the artwork is stunning.

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