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

Saturday 12 March 2011

Review: The Negatees

Intelligent, artistic, warm, approachable, passionate, enthusiastic, phenomenally creative, devoted and cute as a button. No, this is not The Negatees. This is the creator of old yellow grumpy bum (left) - author Adam 'Wally' Wallace.

Yes, Adam is a really nice guy (see his guest post here) but we also like his books very very much here at KBR. Why? Well, I shall tell you!

Adam not only writes funny, quirky books with a language unto his own, he also writes with a message. But not those boring, eye-rolling, here-we-go, schmaltzy type messages with a cleverly secreted moralistic bent - no no. They're fun. And funny.

His first books -The Share-O-Not and Mac O'Beasty both focus on 'issues' affecting the lives of kids. The Share-O-Not message is clear enough - and Mac O'Beasty focuses on the junk-food-ridden, sedentary lives so many modern day kids suffer.

In Adam's newest book - The Negatees - we meet a yellow fellow who likes jello and is a rather negative sod. Things always work out bad for our yellow fellow. It's a woeful life, and he's there to live it to the full. Until he meets a rather bouncy, positive purple critter in a local supermarket whose antics, quite possibly, might just have an uplifting effect on the Negatees.

Here's hoping. The Negatees is so depressing, my young son kept saying he felt awfully sorry for him, all the way through the book. It was a delight, then, to see my son 'getting it' when he realised a woeful existence is the responsiblity of the woe-ee. And lo, that lightbulb going off was probably what the author intended all along.

Adam Wallace has created a rollicking, delicious, reactive story in The Negatees. Laughter, squirming, ewwwwing and lightbulbs are guaranteed. His narrative is astonishingly agile, poetic and hilarious - a little Dr Seuss-like but a lot Wally-like.

It's clear the author also has an adoration for children, with whom I have no doubt he'd readily relate to (he holds a primary teaching degree). With a long list of ideas that are important to him - like bullying, negativity, obesity, sharing and the like - Adam Wally Wallace seems to encapture the perfect children's book packaging - fun, funny, talented, dedicated and just a tad kooky.

Honestly, methinks we'll soon be seeing a lot more of Wally.

Title: The Negatess
Author: Adam Wallace
Illustrator: Heath McKenzie
Publisher: Jo Jo Publishing, $16.99 RRP
Publication Date: September 2010
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9780980556483
For ages: 4 - 10
Type: Picture Book