Review – Where Are You, Banana?

Where are you BananaEver had a little buddy you just can’t live without? A certain something or someone that insinuates itself so deeply into your heart that to be without it would be like losing part of yourself? Pets especially imbue a certain sticky charm and no pet wheedles our affection better than the humble dog. This is exactly what, Roddy, the young star of Allen & Unwin’s latest picture book release, Where Are You, Banana? encounters when a pooch named Banana joins his family.

Banana and Roddy share an intimate history together. Banana was Roddy’s first word. He is Roddy’s constant companion, a devoted playmate and supreme guardian. But Banana is not without his shortcomings. One of the slight disadvantages of being so close to something is that it makes letting it go all the more difficult. Banana’s obsessive dependency results in a trail of chewed possessions, one very irate neighbour and the banning of visits to Aunt Celia, whose chooks Banana has an unhealthy predilection for.

The tale tangles when Roddy leaves Banana alone with nothing more than a bone and his own devices one day when they are at Aunt Celia’s. Her new chicks are a short-lived novelty and can’t quite stop Roddy from making mental promises to the dog he feels he has abandoned. He can’t wait to return home and make amends but when the family return, Banana is nowhere to be found.

In spite of everyone’s constant reassurances, Roddy begins to worry, a lot. The house bereft of Banana’s presence, is eerily empty. Roddy is disconsolate. Unable to sleep, he sets out to look for his dog by himself. What follows is a marvellous example of simple ingenuity and heart-warming humanity.

Sofie LagunaWhere Are You, Banana? Is an absorbing little adventure by highly acclaimed, award winning author Sofie Laguna. Laguna’s frank first person narrative weaves a story that is easy to read, easy to like and perfect to share with the whole family.

Craig Smith Craig Smith’s animated watercolour illustrations leave us in no doubt as to how excruciating it can be searching for something you’ve loved and lost. They are just the right mix of whimsy and pull-at-your-heart cute.

If you’ve ever lost a pet, even for a short time, or misplaced a beloved object, then this picture book will strike an emotive chord. Children often feel these kinds of losses in the most dramatic of ways. And indeed, this tale resonates with ‘child-trapped-down-a-well’ drama and appeal. Thankfully, Where Are You, Banana? ends happily, reinforcing the feel-good notion that tenacity and love really do triumph over adversity.

Just right for 3 – 6 year olds.

A lovely addition to this hardcover edition is the QR code inside the book’s cover. Readers can scan the code for a free audio reading, ideal for playtime and bedtime. Or they can click on the Allen & Unwin website.

Craig IllustratingMeet Sofie and watch Craig draw images from this book at the launch for Where Are You, Banana? this Saturday 6th July at Readings St Kilda, Victoria 10.30 am. Check here for details.

 

 

 

BLOGGER OUT AND ABOUT

There was plenty happening on the kid’s book scene in Melbourne this weekend.

Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators

On Saturday, I went to a Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) seminar in Melbourne where popular kids and YA authors, Pauline Luke, Edel Wignell and George Ivanoff (Boomerang Books blogger at http://content.boomerangbooks.com.au/literary-clutter-blog/) talked about how they spread the word about their latest books.

Our Australian Girl Launch

On Sunday I was at the wonderful Readings bookshop in Hawthorn. It was overflowing with kids and adults there for the launch of Penguin’s Our Australian Girl series.

Creator, Jane Godwin is the Children’s Publisher at Penguin Australia and she spoke about how much hard work has gone into putting the books together and how much they mean to her.

Our Australian Girl is a new 16 part series of novels for readers aged 8-11. It features four inspiring young Australian girls with different cultural heritage and traditional backgrounds, each of whom live in a particular decade of Australia’s early colonial history.


The series is written by four talented Australian authors and beautifully illustrated by Lucia Masciullo.

At the launch, each of the authors had something special to say about their books.

Sherryl Clark – author of Rose’s story

Author, Sherryl Clark

Rose for me has become very real and it has been a pleasure to write her story.

Gabrielle Wang – author of Poppy’s story

What makes history interesting is people’s individual stories like the ones in the Our Australian Girl series.

Sophie Laguna

I got to go to some interesting places. It was a fantastic thing to be able to go back in time.

Alison Lloyd

It was great to write a book for girls where I could work dresses into the story.

The Our Australian Girl series fits with the new National Curriculum and will encourage a new generation to discover our history and cultural diversity.

Other Australian authors out and about at the Our Australia Girl launch

L-R Meredith Costain, Claire Saxby and Bren MacDibble

Author Signings at the Our Australian Girl launch