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

Sunday 20 March 2016

Review: Archie: No Ordinary Sloth

It's a really lovely thing to follow authors and illustrators through their book journeys, and this is something I've been doing with Heath McKenzie for a while now, always admiring the clever, humorous and beautifully-observed characters and storylines he creates.

What I've loved about his journey is how his work has morphed and shifted. Although his style and narratives are still very much 'Heath'--they have definitely shifted over time, meaning that each and every book is a delightful surprise. I so love that.

And Archie is no exception.

Archie is not your ordinary sloth. For a start, he's wide-eyed and bright as a button. While his mates all flop like melted cheese over tree branches, Archie is wide-awake and peppy. He likes to swing, juggle, jump and groove. And no amount of tickling or puppetry will convince his slumbering friends to join in the fun.

Archie begins to feel terribly alone. And terribly different. Until one day, in the deepest part of the jungle, he comes across some other truly 'bizarre' creatures, who differ enormously from the 'norm'. While Archie realises from these creatures that it's absolutely okay to be different, he still misses his sloth friends back home.

On his way home, something rather dangerous happens, and his slothful friends (and Archie) also realises that being awake and aware and in the groove is truly a blessing indeed!

Each of us has our own unique way and quirks that contributes positively to the world, and Archie is a fine example of this. He is a lovable, funny, utterly-kid-friendly character that readers of all ages will love.

Heath's superb illustrations that transition seamlessly from superbly deep jungle backgrounds to clean white, are lustrous, humorous and the perfect tonic for this rollicking, clever story.

More Archie, please.

Title: Archie: No Ordinary Sloth
Author/Illustrator: Heath McKenzie
Publisher: The Five Mile Press, $19.95
Publication Date: 1 March 2016
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781760067892
For ages: 4 - 8
Type: Picture Book