Welcome to our first Friday Book Feature. So many fantastic books! Unfortunately, too many to feature here, but these are my picks for this week.
I live on a rough winding road that goes for more than 10 kilometres and is peppered with bark, lizards and the occasional hopping kangaroo. So I was totally intrigued with the concept of Trudie Trewin‘s new picture book Wibbly Wobbly Street, and the idea that a road could be straightened or ‘made perfect’.
Beautifully illustrated by Cheryl Orisini, Wibbly Wobbly Street tells the story of the only street in Squareton that’s not straight and smooth and wide. It’s a street that doesn’t conform. Mayor Angle and his fellow councillors take some radical action to try and bring it into line with the rest of Squareton.
Trudie Trewin says the story was inspired by a friend of hers who had trouble remembering the name of a street she was talking about.
She ended up just calling it ‘Wibbly Wobbly Street’ because of its hilly and twisty nature. It struck me as a fun name for a story, but it took me about four years, and many failed drafts, to come up with a plot to suit.
Wibbly Wobbly Street is a picture book for ages 3-6 and the ridiculousness of trying to physically straighten a street will appeal to their sense of humour.
Particularly as the street is obviously much more exciting than the rest of Squareton.
Trudie has also used fun words, like ‘wibble-extomy’ and ‘wobble-otomy’, which add to the appeal. She says she loved being able to use wibbly wobbly language in the book. “I loved using words like rectangle-fied, wobble-otomy, wibble-ectomy, hotch-potch, askew, squiggled, joggled.”
So, what’s unique about this book?
Celebrating individuality isn’t new, but I can’t think of another book where this theme has been approached from the point of view of a stubbornly twisted street.
Wibbly Wobbly Street is published by Scholastic Australia ISBN 9781741695618
Written by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Leila Rudge
I’ll admit to complete bias with this book by Meg McKinlay. Firstly, I love ducks and secondly, I love the concept of class pets and think they add something special to any school room.
In Duck for a Day, Mrs Melvino brings a duck, Max into the classroom and Abby desperately wants to take him home for the night.
Abby lives in a spotless house where pets are not allowed because they might make a mess. A classroom pet visit is a temporary thing and Abby manages to persuade her Mum to let her bring the duck home. But this is only the first of Abby’s hurdles.
Next she must overcome the strict demands of Mrs Melvino who won’t let Max go home to an environment that is less than ‘duck’ perfect.
Streets also play an important role in this story because when Abby finally gets to take Max home, the duck disappears and waddles up the street to the park. Duck for a Day is a beautifully illustrated book for 7-9 year olds full of gentle humour and situations that kids will relate to.
Duck For a Day is published by Walker Books Australia – ISBN 9781921529283