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

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Review: My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch

You know the feeling of a book transporting you back to your childhood? That sense of being right back in your old room, looking through the familiar pages and reading through a book for the zillionth time?

That’s the sense I have when I pick up My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch.

This was one of my favourite books as a kid – and to see it again now, I realise it’s still one of my favourites of all time.

Gooligulch, a town deep in the Australian bush, is alive with animals great and small, but not much else – except for Grandma. Grandma lives in a shack by a billabong, a mile down from the pub, and nestled in the scrub. She’s the life, and the talk, of the town.

This is a very special grandmother, unlike any other. She can be seen around town riding kangaroos or in a carriage pulled by a wombat.

One year, Grandma decides to go on a holiday. Naturally, she does this in style, flying (with her wombat in tow) atop a pelican to the seaside. There, she floats on her blow-up horse and enjoys the peace of the water – but the tide carries her away. Where has she gone?

This rhyming story is filled with magic. The whimsical world of this woman is funny, yet the narrator provides a sense of mystery and wonder that make Grandma a mythical character who will be in our hearts forever.

The illustrations are so unique, and by this I mean in more ways than just Base’s signature style. Text appears on every second page, accompanied by a classic, sepia-toned drawing. On the alternate pages, a double-page spread of full colour – the stunning animals, Grandma atop her inflatable horse at the seaside, for example.

I just adore this book.

Title: My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch
Author/Illustrator: Graeme Base http://www.graemebase.com/
Publisher: Puffin, $16.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1988
Format: Softcover
ISBN: 9780140509410
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture book