Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Review: Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo: A journey around Canberra

Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo: A journey around Canberra by Tania McCartney, illustrated by Kieron Pratt (Ford Street Publishing)

HB RRP $22.95; PB RRP $16.95
HB ISBN 978-1925000023
PB ISBN 978-1925000030
Reviewed by Francine Sculli

Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo: A journey around Canberra is the follow on title in Tania McCartney’s well-established ‘Riley the Little Aviator’ series. As the fifth book, it does not disappoint and has all the fabulous ingredients that made the other four titles brilliant – great cartoon illustrations, real life photographs of famous Australian landmarks, fun-loving characters and bright pages that will engross readers.

The title that came before – Riley and the Grumpy Wombat – took readers on a joyous adventure through the sites of Melbourne. This time, we have boarded the plane to Australia’s capital, Canberra, for another thrilling adventure. In Canberra, Riley finds himself seated in Parliament; distracted by the racket of a loud thumping sound that he quickly finds out belongs to the fast-moving jumpy Kangaroo. Riley decides to follow the kangaroo, jumping in his little red plane with his friends. The jumpy kangaroo takes Riley and friends through Canberra’s most renowned and iconic places. From Commonwealth Bridge, City Walk and Mountain Tower to the National Botanic Gardens, National Zoo and Aquarium, the National Museum and Lake Burley Griffin; not to mention the famous National Library, Questacon, Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery of Australia, the Manuka strip and the Commonwealth Park. There is literally no site left untouched by the jumpy kangaroo who zooms, pings, pops, bounds, soars, zigzags, bounces, catapults, powers, dashes, whizzes and hops all over the place, until she finds a joyful resting place in a daffodil at Commonwealth Park – just what she had been looking for.

As with previous books in this series, this one follows a simple story structure with interesting and accessible words that help push the story along. The strong use of action verbs propels the story and engages readers in Riley and the kangaroo’s journey across Canberra; making it a perfect teaching tool for lower and middle primary school aged children, for vocabulary building, writers’ toolboxes and geographical knowledge.

This series would not be complete without the fantastic illustrations of Keiron that have become synonymous with the ‘Riley the Little Aviator’ series. His brightly coloured cartoons are once again blended perfectly with photographs of the Canberra sites, making these books unique, relevant and vibrant.

Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo was road tested on my four-year-old son and nephew and they were left chuckling at the kangaroo’s antics, riding along with the adventure and intrigued by the photographs. It’s another winner.

Jumpy and Riley are on a blog tour from 29 July til \1 August 2013. For the full Blog Tour Schedule, jump in your little red plane and head right here.  

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