Saturday 18 March 2017

The Travel Bug

The Travel Bug by Benjamin Gilmour, illustrated by James Gulliver Hancock (Random House Australia) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9780143780137

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

The protagonist of this story is a no-name ‘strange little bug’ which identifies other creatures in the landscape, such as earwigs, weevils, flies and fleas, but his own kind of species is a real mystery. With his blue suitcase packed, he buys a round-the-world ticket and gets on board the back of a cricket to search for an find his identity.

The reader can plot the bug’s journey on the map of the world found on the fly pages, starting in Japan and then heading to Afghanistan. As he travels, he meets other bugs such as scorpions in Kandahar which are feasting, musicians in Spain, and ‘a spider in tartan’ in Scotland. There are numerous other countries featured in this story told in rhyming verse which include jungles and cities. In New York the bug meets with a professor with is -- finally -- able to put a name to him.

The charming flat colour and black line illustrations that accompany the written text make use of patterns, many of them like those found in zentangles.

This is a simple story with a twist at the end which is sure to be enjoyed by small readers up to the age of 6 years.

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