Wednesday 9 August 2023

Parcel for Koala

Parcel for Koala, by Shelley Knoll-Miller (Penguin Books Australia imprint Puffin) PB PB HB RRP $14.99 9781761046636

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Shelley Knoll-Miller loves storytelling. She worked as a cartoonist for over 20 years before she illustrated her first picture. Now, she writes and illustrates her own books and has won awards both locally and nationally.

Koala and friends are stuck in a tree filled with squawks and screeches. Tired and frazzled, a surprise parcel arrives for koala. Will what’s inside help with the cockatoo noise?

Knoll-Miller’s charming text captures reader attention from the very first page. She entices the reader by giving only the first letter of the name for who the parcel is for – K. Instantly, the reader is guessing. The sheer delight of Koala is shown with minimal word use. ‘For me?’ whispers Koala. This shows Koala’s surprise without telling. Then the guessing of what’s inside the parcel becomes a game with the characters and the reader. Knoll-Miller has the characters guessing things that might help with sleep. She uses questions and answers that bring lots of fun into the story. And then when Koala finally decides to unwrap the present, the reader is waiting with anticipation. ‘Close your eyes so it’s a surprise. Ready…?’ Knoll-Miller even brings into play One…Two…Three! I won’t reveal what’s inside but let’s just say it is surprising. The present is linked to the clever solution of escaping the cockatoo noise.

The bright green cover with a cartoon-like Koala and the title as a speech blurb is eye-catching. The animal characters have expressive eyes and there’s lots of movement. With just one look you know that Koala, Bat and Possum are exhausted from the cockatoo squawking. The blue Australian sky and green gum leaves and violet-grey tree trunk are a perfect back drop for the animal antics. This bright, happy book is sure to appeal to young children. The illustrations make great visual storytelling, and they work so well with the minimal text.

Parcel for Koala is a part of a picture book series for children 2-8 years. There is also Parcel for Turtle, Parcel for Gorilla and Parcel for Penguin. This book is a fun one to add to any bed routine or a perfect addition for a play group or preschool environment. At the end of the day sometimes all we need is a good laugh. Parents and children will both enjoy this book.

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