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

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Review: Riley and the Grumpy Wombat

When I opened up the package to see this book I was immediately excited, firstly because this book was written by my good friend and virtual big sister, Tania McCartney. Most importantly, I was most excited by the book itself.

Riley is hanging out in his backyard, making mud pies and having a dirty great time when he spies a hole. The curious Riley pokes his head inside and see’s a big pair of green eyes. He can’t quite tell what it is, but what he can tell, is that it sure is GRUMPY!

Grrrowl … 

Without warning the cranky pants creature has charged out of the burrow and completely disappears!

After conferring with Nanny, who tells him that it is a wombat, kind Riley wants to help and so he makes it his mission to find the wombat. Out comes his little red plane and off he goes into the fresh skies of Melbourne.

We see Riley zipping through the sights of Melbourne. Bourke Street Mall, Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, St Kilda Beach and more.

If you haven’t seen one of the Riley books before then you are in for a real treat. When Riley is off on his adventures, the places he visits are shown using black and white photographs while Riley, his little red plane and friends are all in luscious full colour. The effect is a stunning contrast of reality against the illustration that is completely charming and just captures your imagination. I would love to see a child’s reaction to this actually. I can just see their imaginations whirring to life upon viewing them!

Also make sure you check out what Riley’s friends are up to in each of these pages too. (My particular favourite scene when they are rocketing up Lygon Street.)

Riley travels all over and whips out all his awesome gadgets and do-dads but still doesn’t seem to be having any luck finding the wombat.

I won’t spoil the ending but I will guarantee you won’t be able to guess just what that cantankerous wombat was up to. It made me giggle.

At the end of the book is a super cute map that shows you where Riley and his friend have been in previous Riley adventures. This is the fourth book in the series with book five to come in 2012. Watch this space!

To review this book knowing Tania, I have to look at it through someone else’s eyes as I wanted to be completely fair. So you can imagine just how pleased I am to be able to say, it is gorgeous. Riley and the Grumpy Wombat is a story that can be happily pored over again and again.

I can’t finish this review without mentioning the gorgeous end papers. So, so adorable! Please track down a copy for your own library and take a peek at those end papers for yourself!

Title: Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: A Journey around Melbourne
Author: Tania McCartney
Illustrator: Kieron Pratt
Publisher: Ford Street Publishing, $22.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 September 2011
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781921665486
For ages: 2+
Type: Picture Book