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

Thursday 5 August 2010

Review: Rufus the Numbat

Title: Rufus the Numbat

Author: David Miller

Illustrator: David Miller

Publisher: Ford Street, $24.95 RRP

Format: Hard cover

ISBN: 9781876462963

For ages: 4 - 6

Type: Picture book

About: Rufus the numbat is just passing through town. He’s only a small creature, so surely no one will notice him as he scuttles along.

Little does he know that he has left a trail of disaster behind him.

As he comes between a bicycle’s wheels and sends the cyclist flying, a painter’s ladder is knocked over, resulting in a can of paint on a waiter’s head and a man atop a table of diners. Then Rufus gets under the feet of a dragon at the grand parade, exposing the men underneat the costume and causing chaos with a skateboard rider and a street sweeper.

Rufus catches a ride on the freed skateboard as he heads back to his quiet life in the bush, none the wiser.

This is a gorgeous story has a few different aspects that make it something totally different to a general picture book.

Firstly, the slow pace of the written part of the story. Aside from the fact that there are pages free of text, the words are slow and methodical: “Rufus the numbat loves the songs of birds, the rustle of the leaves…”

Combine this slow pace with the busy, vibrant scenes shown in the pictures, and we experience an unusual contrast and wonderful confusion that will stimulate readers’ senses.

There is also a great sense of humour to the story – “Rufus the numbat is just passing through. That’s all, just passing through.” – as we watch the bedlam unfold.

But, most notably of all, are the illustrations. These are actually photographs of 3D paper sculptures, the signature of Miller’s unique talent, which make this book so visually appealing.

Rufus the Numbat will make an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable addition to your family’s book collection.

This book is available online

Read our interview with author/illustrator David Miller