Friday 10 June 2016

Go Home, Cheeky Animals!

Go Home, Cheeky Animals! (Allen & Unwin 2016)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN: 9781760291655

Reviewed by Jade Harmer

Too Many Cheeky Dogs collaborators, Johanna Bell and Dion Beasley, are back with Go Home, Cheeky Animals!

At Canteen Creek in Australia’s top end there are cheeky dogs everywhere.
Grandpa says the cheeky dogs will keep the other cheeky animals away, but when the big rains come and a gang of goats move in, the cheeky dogs do nothing. The sweaty season brings a drove of donkeys, the cool winds bring a herd of horses, the dry grass brings a bunch of buffaloes and the dry soaks bring a caravan of camels.

The whole family tries to make the cheeky animals go home – Dad flaps his arms, Aunty waves a big stick and sister chucks her thongs – but nothing seems to work. It’s not until the big storms come and the cheeky animals go crazy that the cheeky dogs finally get fed up and growl “Go Home, Cheeky Animals!” in their loudest, angriest voices. And they do.

Beasley’s depictions of the cheeky dogs and animals breathes a sense of fun into a story that embraces family, place, nature and the flow of the seasons in a remote Indigenous community.

Bell’s language is descriptive yet sparing. It partners nicely with Beasley’s expressive, humour-filled illustrations. Even the end papers are a treat.
And when the seasons come full circle and those big rains come again, there’s a sense those cheeky animals will be back, and those cheeky dogs will be waiting…

This picture book set in a remote Indigenous community is a rarity and this gem aimed at three to six year olds has all the makings to inform and delight.

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