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

Monday 8 July 2013

Review: Where Are You, Banana?

Where Are You, Banana? is a perfect portrait of the world through the eyes of a young character, Roddy.

A dog named Banana is Roddy’s constant companion. They keep each other company when Mum is busy with the twins, when it rains and in bed at night.

Banana is prone to separation anxiety, so howls when left alone. The neighbour, Mr Bray, shouts about all the noise, and Roddy finds him intimidating throughout the book.

The strong characters are accentuated by Craig Smith’s illustrations. Smith’s characteristic pictures are moody, and perfectly capture Roddy's worry. The expression on the dog’s face when he is found at the bottom of a drain and when he is finally rescued, is so endearing. 

When Banana goes missing, brave Roddy decides to look for the dog by himself. It is dark and rainy at dawn, but Roddy soldiers on. When he finds the dog in a drain, he experiences jubilation, but immediately meets his next hurdle - he has to think of a way to rescue him. 

Roddy comes up with a great plan using household objects to stretcher the dog out, but at the very last minute, Roddy needs someone taller to help with the rescue. It is Mr Bray, who had previously been portrayed as a little scary, who comes to help rescue the grateful dog. Mr Bray is kindly after all.

The text is detailed but full of realistic drama that will engross the attentive picture book reader. This story is something that could really happen, and kids with pets will be captivated. At its heart is loyalty and tenacity, but there are other things going on too, like sharing Mum with siblings and not jumping to conclusions about people (such as scary neighbours).

The story book comes complete with a QR code that can be scanned to listen to the story read online. This will be a great novelty for children learning to read by themselves.

Title: Where are you, Banana?
Author: Sofie Laguna
Illustrator: Craig Smith
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $24.95 RRP
Publication Date: July 2013
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781743310533
For ages: 3 - 7
Type: Picture Book