Thursday 21 November 2013

The Three Wallabies Gruff

The Three Wallabies Gruff by Yvonne Morrison and Heath McKenzie (Little Hare Books)
PB RRP $14.95 
ISBN 978 1 742977 15 7
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

This delightful picture book takes an old tale and cleverly twists it into a story as Aussie as Vegemite. Taking the place of the Billy-goats Gruff are three very astute wallabies; a dad, mum and son. Instead of a troll is a green yowie, beautifully illustrated with red eyes and yellow teeth. It's all set around a sparkling blue pool, shady and cool. None of the other animals can drink the water because the yowie frightens them away. But things change when the Wallabies Gruff turn up.

This is a good book to read aloud, with humorous rhymes to please both the reader and listener. The phrase, 'Who's that going Slip Slap down my private track? I'll gobble you up for my afternoon snack!' is repeated each time an animal tries to cross the bridge. Unfazed by the hideousness of the yowie, the quick-thinking wallaby family take advantage of his greediness and ultimately trick him into losing his beloved pool. The yowie ends up in the back of beyond, where he gets his just deserts 

The illustrations are colourful and full of character. Father wallaby wears a Bonds type singlet top and has a moustache and muscles, while Mother wallaby wears a red, floral dress. The facial expressions, on the animals too scared to drink the water from the pool, look suitably distraught. But the yowie is the best, almost evoking sympathy at the end in a final (textless) twist on the last page. It's good to end a book with a chuckle.

The humour in this book makes it appealing to children of a variety of ages, from preschool to those who can read it for themselves. 

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