Tuesday 16 April 2013

Yobbos Do Yoga

Yobbos Do Yoga by Phillip Gwynne and Andrew Joyner (Little Hare Books)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9781921714832
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

With a catchy title and lively cover illustrations, Yobbos do Yoga immediately draws the reader in. The narrator of the story is a small, dark-haired girl whose neighbours have moved out (with their noisy cat, Sir Reginald the Third). The girl's dad is at peace to do his favourite yoga poses — the fish, the lightning rod and the salute to the sun. Then, with their cars in the front yard and their dogs in the backyard, yobbos move in next door.   
The newcomers have a party where there is yobbo music, yobbo dancing and yobbos singing yobbo songs. Dad gets so angry he can't do his yoga any more. But when the little girl goes over the fence to get her ball and actually meets Tubby, Ferret and King Wally Kahuna, they call her Princess and give her cordial. Even their dogs let her pat them. She knows if she can just get her father to talk to these nice people, he might begin to get along with them.
This is a humorous story about tolerance and the importance of not judging people by appearances. The very Australian prose, use of repetition and the colourful illustrations work together to allow the readers to come to their own conclusions, way before the dad does. The friendly-looking yobbos have flannelette shirts, ACDC t-shirts and one has a great mullet. The skinny dad with his bald patch and spectacles is a nice contrast.
Suitable for children over the age of three (and quite a good read for adults as well) Yobbos Do Yoga ends on a positive note with everyone joining in for a yoga session.
Phillip Gwynne's picture books include Ruby Learns to Swim and The Queen with the Wobbly BottomAmong the books illustrated by Andrew Joyner are The Terrible Plop and Too Many Elephants in this House. 

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