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

Monday 31 October 2011

Review: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

After an excellent breakfast, Horace the Pig and his wide Glenda the Duck open a formal letter from Dr A. Hunter F.R.S.W., inviting them to a gourmet weekend at Eatem Hall.

Excited, the couple pack and head off, but on the way to Eatem Hall, Glenda becomes unnerved. She doesn't like the strange noises in the forest surround the Hall - but Horace thinks she's a silly old bird ... it was just his tummy rumbling!

Upon arriving at the Hall, Horace is not pleased at the less-than warm welcome. All that awaits them is a hall-table note, advising the Pork-Fowlers that Dr Hunter is a bit of busy old chap, and although he won't be personally attending, he's organised for a fully-automated dining experience - with every dietary whim catered to, with the flick of a switch or push of a button.

He also advises he'll meat [sic] with them on Sunday morning for a mouthwatering surprise.


Told in a diary-style format, the voice Kelly uses in this book is witty, dry, hilarious and utterly compelling. The use of binoculars and telescopes and surveillance screens showing the pair at play in the gorgeous grounds of the Hall, the posters advertising a pie feast this coming Sunday, the carefully-placed scales on the couple's bed (with such weight rankings as 'too light', 'ready to eat', 'too heavy') lend rib-tickling suspense as this delightful story unfolds.

Stunning illustrations by Tincknell are a joy to meander through - the colour, suspense and detail she cleverly provides is eye-catchingly good, and only adds to this brilliantly-produced book. The wolfish silhouette of Dr Hunter as he prepares a fandangled machine to catch and be-pie his quarry, is priceless - as is the delectable surprise ending.

Karma, duck-pig style.

Title: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
Author: John Kelly
Illustrator: Cathy Tincknell
Publisher: Templar, $19.95 RRP
Publication Date: May 2009
Format: Soft cover
ISBN: 9781840116380
For ages: 4 -10
Type: Picture Book