Saturday 1 January 2022

Terry Denton’s Bumper Book of Holiday Stuff to Do!

Terry Denton’s Bumper Book of Holiday Stuff to Do! (Puffin Books) RRP $16.99 PB ISBN 9780143777809

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Taking a break from his work on the Treehouse series with Andy Griffiths, Australian illustrator Terry Denton brings readers aged 8+ years a bumper, interactive book. In his welcome to the book, Denton says, ‘This is a book about ideas and expressing them in drawings and words.’ In the first double-page spread of a school concert showing stage and audience, he invites readers to find things such as a child in a prawn costume and an elephant – neither of which this reviewer could find despite much looking. On the next page the reader is told she is the octopus in the school play: there is a half-drawn person who needs to be completed (for example, with ‘octopus’ hair’). There follow other pictures to be completed, such as expressions on the audience’s faces.

There are lots of spaces in this thick 300-page book where the reader is invited to fill in with drawings (‘your four favourite friends’) and writing (‘your holiday to-do-list) and much more. The book allows the child much scope to express himself (‘Write a letter of complaint to Santa. State clearly what you wanted and what you got and why you are not happy.’) There is a whole section devoted to Christmas (‘Where not to hide gifts’), (‘What you would leave out for Santa’), and, in a double-page spread, ‘Build your own landing platform for Santa and reindeers.’ There’s even a Christmas quiz (‘What is Santa’s surname?’)

Other sections are focused on holidays, animals, school, outer space, food, games, and more. In a double-page illustration of a very crowded swimming pool, the reader is asked to find the kid who has lost his bathers. Once again, this reviewer failed!

There is an abundance of interaction in this heavily illustrated, cheerful, and demanding book. It’s sure to keep its readers very busy for a very long time.

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