Thursday 16 May 2013

Don’t Let a Spoonbill in the Kitchen

Don’t Let a Spoonbill in the Kitchen by Narelle Oliver (Omnibus Books)
HB RRP $26.99
ISBN 978-1-86291-931-0
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Don’t Let a Spoonbill in the Kitchen is a gorgeous, cheeky and very fun picture book. It is a book about Australian waterbirds and is perfect for all lovers of rhyming verse, funny stories and birds.

The text and illustrations work well together – first setting up each bird in their natural habitat with a smooth easy rhyme – then placing the bird in our human environment and imagining what a mess they’d make of it.

There is a steady rhythm to this story. First a verse about the bird and its habits, then a verse suggesting similarities to our actions with an added caution:

I’ll give a simple warning that
You’d better not ignore...

Then the page turn and the imagined results of such an unwise action - ‘Don’t let a Spoonbill in the kitchen’. I’m sure this will produce many giggles and children will join in to chant this conclusion line.

Oliver’s illustrations are a mix of linocut, cut paper and photographs. The birds in their natural setting are linocuts, beautiful and natural, and then the addition of the collage elements effectively enhances the total silliness of the idea of letting spoonbills into the kitchen, or pelicans into the airport!

I’ll add my ‘simple warning’ - don’t let this fun and beautifully illustrated book pass you by.

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