Sunday, 11 August 2013

Between the Pages

Between the Pages by Joan van Loon illustrated by Chantal Stewart (New Frontier Publishing)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9781921928444
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

This story opens with Billy and Jack traipsing through a windy and rainy forest in their pyjamas, complete with bulging nappies underneath. Their first encounter is to be swept into the air by what Billy tells Jack is ‘a blind bat’ . Jack says to keep going and turning the page sees them falling into a python nest on the ground. This time it’s Billy who urges them to move on.

The next page turn sees them sliding down a tree, away from the snake this is now chasing them from the branches above. By fleeing in this manner they come face to face with a tree dragon. Their simple solution of turning the page means Jack is bumped into the butt of a tree where chicks are nesting. An angry grunt from their mother and a page turn reveals they are emus and prompts another repeat of the ‘turn the page’ refrain.

Besides also having to turn the page to save them as their boat is about to pitch over a waterfall, the two adventurers must also turn the page to escape a crocodile, then leaping lizards, red-back spiders and frogs until all animals are after them in a pack. Never fear, the turn of a page is all it takes to see them floating down and landing on their bed. It’s here that Jack says ‘Oh no, it’s …” and the last page is turned to see Billy say “the END.”

Vivid and colourful illustrations full of action are in keeping with the very fast pace of Jack and Billy’s page turning adventure. The facial expressions of not only the boys but also each animal they encounter add to the excitement, fear and discovery. The cute final picture of the boys sitting tucked side by side in bed holding the book open in front of them is matched with an equally cute punch line of “Turn it over. Let’s read it again.”

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