I’ve always been a fan of KBR founder Tania McCartney’s Riley the Little Aviator series. I love the combination of photographs and illustrations, the fact that the books are so much fun to read aloud, and the way the books introduce children to different major cities around the world.
Given my longstanding appreciation of the Riley series and my friendship and working relationship with Tania, I thought it might be appropriate to share a more objective response to the latest Riley book.
When my copy of Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo arrived in the post, all three of my children (ages 9, 12 and 14) were keen to read it. My 12-year-old daughter in particular was very excited. She 'kindly' offered to carry the mail and then declared to the boys that she got to read Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo first because she was carrying the package. The rest of us would have to wait in line.
There were lots of smiles as she read the story. When she finished telling me how awesome it was, I commented that we were lucky to get an early copy because I know the author. She looked at the front cover, read the author’s name and then, with wide eyes, asked if this was the same Tania that I worked with at Kids’ Book Review. Somehow, in our years of reading Riley the Little Aviator stories and my years of working with Tania here at KBR, my daughter has never put the two together.
So, there you have it, a completely spontaneous and unbiased response. All three kids loved the book and the younger two didn't even realise that we knew the author. Personally, I’m keen for Riley to continue his travels. I’d love to read about his adventures in Paris, London, New York as well as other major Australian cities and I keep dropping hints that Tania should send Riley for an adventure in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter Valley so that she could conduct a research trip to my home town.
As with the other four books in the series, Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo is perfect for reading aloud with young children. The book launch coincides with the celebration of Canberra’s centenary and is the ideal way to introduce the sights of the nation’s capital to children or to reminisce about a visit to the city. If you look very, very carefully, you might even catch a glimpse of author Tania McCartney in one of the illustrations as well!
To celebrate the release of Jumpy Roo, Riley the Little Aviator is on tour! Follow him as he soars through the stratosphere, visiting sites, giving away books and having lots of jumpy fun. Riley will be on tour from Monday 29 July to Thursday 1 August. See the full tour schedule here.
Title: Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo: A journey around Canberra
Author: Tania McCartney
Illustrator: Kieron Pratt
Publisher: Ford Street Publishing, $16.95 PB, $23.95 HB
Publication Date: August 2013
For ages: 3 - 8
Type: Picture Book