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

Friday 14 May 2010

Review: The Aussie A to Z

Title: The Aussie A to Z

Author: Heath McKenzie

Illustrator: Heath McKenzie

Publisher: Black Dog Books, A$14.99RRP

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781921167881

For ages: 2+

Type: Picture Book

About: Oh glory! Aussie glory. Gosh, we have a phenomenal range of fabulous Australian-themed books for children in this country. Do other countries have as many? I often wonder. There may be only 21 million of us but it seems we have an Aussie-themed book for each and every one. For a people notoriously relaxed on overt patriotism, we've certainly made up for in the children’s literary world.

I’m an avid collector of Aus-themed children’s books and this latest treasure by Heath McKenzie is yet another glorious addition to my growing library.

Clearly written for children, The Aussie A to Z is like a Disney movie… ie: it’s designed for kids but is really, secretly, clandestinely, for adults. In fact, its propensity to delight big people makes it the perfect gift for friends leaving our shores on overseas postings, as evidenced by my racing out to get another copy (they couldn't have mine!) to hand some close friends just left for Vietnam.

How wonderful to witness my friends poring over the book like enchanted kiddlings, spotting the Aussie paraphernalia secreted within. Not your average 'A to Z' publication, McKenzie’s clever take features a saturation of Australiana from our Federation? Days to last weekend.

M may be for magpie but it’s also for Marty Monster, Milo and Merv Hughes. K is for koala and kangaroo, sure, but it’s also for Kath ‘n’ Kim.

A referral index at the back of the book helps us along if we become a little waylaid by memory block or curiosity, but what a joy it is to seek and find and guess. Most adults will delight in uncovering the lustrous subtle and not-so-subtle visuals McKenzie does so well.

From animals to Aussie icons and idioms, cultural idiosyncrasies, classic branding and peculiarities, The Aussie A to Z is an Aussie family must-own – and the perfect way to showcase our country to friends overseas.

As for kids? Oh alright then. Buy it for them, too. If you must.

Author website

This book is available online