Gusto & Gecko Travel to New Orleans by Longy Han, illustrated by Elinor Hägg HB RRP $22.95
Reviewed by Stephanie Mantello
On an ordinary Sunday afternoon, Gusto and Gecko jump into their time machine and head off for an adventure. They land the wonderful city of New Orleans, Louisiana and are immersed in the culture of this one-of-a-kind American city. It's all fun and games until Gusto gets caught up in the action and ends up in a swamp filled with alligators. Will they ever get home?
Gusto and Gecko are two dinosaurs with a time machine. And they are ready to travel the world! In the second book of The Curious Travels of Gusto & Gecko Series, the best friends find themselves marching in a Mardi Gras parade, eating wonderful local foods and cheering at a good old American football game. Readers experience the lively jazz music in the French Quarter and smell of freshly cooked beignets at Cafe du Monde right along with these two visitors. In what turns out to be anything but an ordinary Sunday afternoon, the two friends find themselves in the marshlands and must escape the jaws of a hungry alligator before returning home with, of course, a few beignets.
With adventure, humour, and a generous dose of local flavour, talented author Longy Han brings the wonders of New Orleans and Creole culture to young readers through her endearing characters Gusto and Gecko. Visiting historic landmarks, modern attractions, and everything in between, the two friends are fantastic tour guides in this darling book for preschool-aged children.
The colourful illustrations by Elinor Hägg perfectly compliment the story and create a friendly, playful tone. Plus, thoughtful extras are included at the end of the book. Instructions for a simple origami alligator craft and a glossary of New Orleans foods offer parents, carers and teachers opportunities to further expand upon the topics in the book.
Overall, this is an entertaining picture book that would be a wonderful addition to any school library or child's bookshelf.