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

Sunday 29 January 2012

Review: Riley and the Grumpy Wombat

Ask 1,001 Australians what a kid’s picture book is and they’ll come up with a variation on ‘bright pictures, simple words and lots of white space’. Just sometimes there’s a touch of brilliance in the breeze, and it’s different.

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat is one of the different ones.

Like the others in the Riley series, it combines photos of iconic places with bright images of Riley, the boy who travels the world to find a dragon in Beijing, a lion in Hong Kong, a koala in Sydney and in this case a grumpy wombat in Melbourne.

They’re books for the travelling generation, who’ll get to see those places with their family or school excursion or at least on TV, and will recognise the images, or be able to find them later.

The books are fun, delightfully silly, but most of all, the conjunction of real places with imagined characters works with the intended audience, who can easily put themselves in Riley’s place.

Eighty per cent of the success of a picture book depends on a great concept, and this concept is superb. Riley and the Grumpy Wombat is also, I think, the most polished and inventive of the Riley books so far.

The kids I read it to loved it. So did I.

- this review by very generous author Jackie French

Title:  Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: a journey around Melbourne
Author: Tania McCartney
Illustrator: Kieron Pratt
Publisher: Ford Street Publishing, $16.95 RRP
Publication Date: Sept 2011
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781921665486
For ages: 4 - 10
Type: Picture Book