Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Children’s Book Review, The Croc and the Platypus

Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson,

Children's Book Review

The Croc and the Platypus is a children’s picture book written by Jackie Hosking, illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, and published by Walker Books, 2014.

From the publishers:

The croc and the platypus trundled off in a rusty old Holden ute. They took some damper and tea in a hamper and bundled it up in the boot. Join Croc and Platypus for an Australian outback hullabaloo!
Great read aloud, rhyming text.
An Australian twist on a classic poem.
Strong Australiana themes with beautiful illustrations make it perfect for education.

What I liked:

Hosking presents her version of The Owl and the Pussycat and does it with flair and an authentic Australian flavour. Young readers will encounter vocabulary like hullabaloo, didgeridoo, and damper. They’ll peek inside a shearing shed, and check out a camping site next to Australia’s most famous rock. Best of all, they’ll enjoy a fun and energetic story, and perhaps be inspired to play with rhyme and rhythm themselves.

I’m not familiar with Crosby-Fairall’s work, but certainly hope to see more of it. Her detailed illustrations reflect outback colours, and are filled with movement. Character expressions will make kids grin, especially the sheep, which seem quite bemused by Croc and Platypus. The end-papers have that little bit extra for kids to think about.

Extend the literature experience:

Kids will have fun with The Croc and the Platypus. Can they work out what landmark is referred to by “…the great ochre pebble/In the shape of a hill.”? What did the Croc and the Platypus do with the fleece? Crosby-Fairall has visual clues to the answers.

The Croc and the Platypus is based on The Owl and the Pussycat. Can older kids research to find any other works of art that were inspired by earlier works? Can they use the text’s rhyming scheme and rhythm as a model for their own adventure in words?

Stand-out features:

Rhyming fun, Australian theme, gorgeous illustrations - a great read-aloud to share with kids!

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