'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
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Friday, 17 August 2012

Review: Alex and the Watermelon Boat

The river had burst its banks. The dam was overflowing. 'Don't go outside, Alex!' Mum shouted. But just then Rabbit hopped out the open window...

Following Rabbit out the window, Alex climbs into his watermelon boat and follows the fast flowing river in search of his favourite toy. Inspired by the Queensland floods of January 2011, Alex and the Watermelon Boat features a dreamlike sequence of images as Alex searches for his missing toy rabbit.

The illustrations and simple text capture the chaos and disruption caused by the storm with the overflowing dam, rising water levels and people stranded in trees and on rooftops. One man rows past with a boat filled with food supplies, a piano floats by washed out of a flooded home and a robber steals sausages from Barry the Gourmet Butcher.

I really enjoyed the appealingly child-like illustrations and the way Chris McKimmie manages to convey some of the challenges and frightening aspects of a natural disaster such as a flood in a non-threatening way. The story ends with a very positive message as Alex not only finds Rabbit, but also realises that storms don't last forever and blue skies and sunshine are just around the corner.

Alex and the Watermelon Boat is a lovely book for home and is ideal for classroom settings for young children learning about a weather, storms, water, imagination and other related topics. There are teachers' notes available.

Title: Alex and the Watermelon Boat
Author/Illustrator: Chris McKinnie
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $29.99 RRP
Publication Date: 28 May 2012
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781743310076
For ages: 4 - 8 years
Type: Paperback

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