'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Review: Ponkidoodle

Title: Ponkidoodle

Author: Neridah McMullin

Illustrator: Aaron Pocock

Publisher: Little Steps, $24.95

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9781921042881

For ages: 3-7

Type: Picture Book

About: Monsters under the bed are just about as sure as superhero and fairy phases in the lives of most children, and nighttime fears can become a very real issue for the many kids who baulk at shadows and strange sounds cloistered in the dark.

Drawing on childhood memories of her father’s clever Ponkidoodle creation, author McMullin has brought to life a loving father’s attempt to hearten and ease his child’s fears of things that go bump in the night.

What is that noise coming from the kitchen? Why, it’s just Ponkidoodle stacking plates. What’s that bumping and crashing outside the window? Just Ponkidoodle, kicking pebbles with his shoe. What’s that scritching and scratching sound? Ponkidoodle again, scaling down the inside wall.

Offering an ‘answer’ to the fears that plague children brings them a comforting sense of ‘knowing’ that’s sure to help young ones hunker down for the night, safe in the understanding there’s nothing to be afraid of – it’s only Ponkidoodle.

This is McMullin's first picture book, and she has penned its pages with an obvious and infectious glee. Rhyme is notoriously hard to do well, and although the rhyming cadence of Ponkidoodle does occasionally skip a beat, McMullin writes with an openness and childlike candour that will really hook small children. I particularly love Ponkidoodle’s efforts on the loo, which is bound to elicit many a giggle from children and parents alike.

What I like most about Ponkidoodle is that he’s not been rendered (by artist Aaron Pocock) as some cutesy-pie fuzzball, resplendent with hovering butterflies. He is indeed a rather shabby, gremlin-like creature who has charm with a slight edge about it – enough to tweak fascination and curiosity in young readers.

He is also playful, pesky, clumsy and a wee bit naughty – much like children themselves. In this way, McMullin has offered up a totally relatable and lovable character in Ponkidoodle – one who is sure to become a bedtime staple for all kids with night issues.

I, for one, can't wait to read Ponkidoodle to my son Riley, who is still a little prickly with the dark. This funny, mischievous and intriguing little creature is sure to bring a little bit of light to his bedtime ritual.

Author website
Illustrator website

This book is available online:

Booktopia - A$22.45
SeekBooks - A$22.46
Fishpond - A$24.99