Monday 7 June 2021

Moose the Pilot

Moose the Pilot written and illustrated by Kimberly Andrews (Puffin) PB RRP$19.99 ISBN 9780143775379

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This is the third visually stunning story set in the world of Puffin the Architect and her friends. The adventures of daring Pilot Moose will captivate readers young and old - especially fans of flying machines! Pilot Moose is an anthropological pilot who walks on his back legs and has a seaplane which he flies from place to place with cargo. As the story progresses, there’s a black speaker telling Moose where he’s to go and what he’s to take with him; for example, his first delivery is to Puffin Cottage where he’s delivering parcels of mail. Next customer is bear, who needs straw bales before he hibernates. On each page there’s a clipboard showing the aircraft (for example, Beaver, Skiplane) and destination (Otter’s Fishing Boat).

The story is told in rhyming verse and on most double pages there are speech balloons from characters who are expecting deliveries (‘Look, Mum! It’s Moose’s plane!) The text reads well aloud, as the deliveries go to characters as diverse as orangutan, platypus, kiwi, and flamingo. This, however, presents a problem when there is a double page of an island (with alps, bays, rivers, and woods, etc) which shows all of Moose’s landing spots. As the animals mentioned throughout the book live on different countries throughout the world, this is obviously wrong and is sure to give the wrong message to young readers.

Having said that, the strongest aspect of this large book are the illustrations which are detailed, well-drawn, and colourful. Many double pages are of Moose being greeted by his customers as he makes his deliveries. There is a wonderful illustration set inside a pilot’s cockpit which, with its instrument panel, is likely to engage a young reader for a long time. Each of the illustrations are worth pouring over for their glorious colours and multitude of details. Readers are also asked to see if they can find 17 hidden butterflies in the book.

Kimberly Andrews has won the Russell Clark Award for illustration, a Storylines Notable Picture Book, and a New Zealand Best Children’s Book Award.  

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