Monday 5 July 2021

There’s a Bull Ant in the Bedroom

There’s a Bull Ant in the Bedroom by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Shane McG (Scholastic) HB RRP $17.99 ISBN: 9781760973407

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

When a batty bunch of creatures invades a boy’s home – from ‘a bull ant in the bedroom’ and ‘a camel in the kitchen’ to ‘a tiger in the toilet’ and ‘a piranha in the pool’ – he soon comes up with an ingenious solution: put them all in ‘his sister’s bed’, where she is reading. But what happens when he wants to go to sleep and his sister is now under his bedspread? He is forced to sleep in his sister’s bed with all of the animals!

From the opening line, readers know that they are in for a rollicking ride into the ridiculous. Adam Wallace’s rhyming text races from one silly scenario to the next, eliciting a gush of giggles at every page turn. As the author of the fabulous Fartboy books, it’s not surprising that Adam has included a windy gorilla in the menagerie as well as a brace of butt jokes. But the joy in this read-aloud text comes from the clever word choices: alliterations roll off the tongue with ease, and kids will adore the homophone of the lion lyin’ on the laundry floor.

Shane McG’s colourful, cartoon-like illustrations complement the witty words, creating a wacky world where the unreal soon becomes real. His characterisation of the creatures is charming and adds an appealing layer of conviviality to the tale. There is also a subtle nod to the fun of reading in the images: the sister is engrossed in a book and barely notices the accumulation of animals in her room; each creature soon becomes captivated by her book, too, and by the end of the story they are all reading their own books.

Perfect for the four to eight age group, There’s a Bull Ant in the Bedroom is brimming with riotous rhymes that kids will love to recite repeatedly. This encourages an enjoyment of reading that will spill over to other books and last a lifetime.

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