The Great Barbie Disaster by Tania Ingram, illustrated by Christina Miesen (Omnibus Books) PB RRP $12.99
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop
Dad wants to make a barbeque. He comes from a long line of barbie builders and thinks shop bought barbies are for wimps. The trouble is Dad’s not very good at building things. The Great Barbie Disaster is a very funny story about all of his attempts to construct the perfect backyard barbie and what goes wrong – very wrong – each time.
There’s nothing more Aussie than a backyard barbie in the summer and this story captures the essence of summer and family. I related strongly as my father was a backyard builder and I suspect there are lots of kids out there who have watched or helped as Dad constructed a chicken coop, barbeque, cubby or outdoor furniture with varying degrees of success who will relate to this tale as well.
Part of the Mates series, this title is filled with the humour, Australian culture and entertaining storylines these Great Aussie Yarns are known for. Written for the eight year old age range, short chapters, large varied font and illustrations - which break up the text, filling the pages with colour and appeal - make this a perfect tale for beginner and young readers. The text is clear and uncomplicated and explains concepts such as the waste station within the story.
The voice of the girl who narrates the story is engaging. She is laid-back with just a tinge of sarcasm, but clearly loves and admires her Dad.
Using soft colours, the illustrator has created pictures which echo the humour of the words, enhancing the story and adding the enjoyment of the reading experience. These pictures, large and small, fill the pages and bring the characters to life.