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

Wednesday 8 January 2020

Review: Bluey: The Beach, Fruit Bat & Time to Play!

The anthropomorphic award-winning Heeler family is the feature in these three marvellous Bluey books released simultaneously. The television show, Bluey, won the 2019 Silver Logie Award for the Most Outstanding Children’s Program. 

Full of Australian culture and themes, the Australian Blue and Red Heeler, makes up the family unit. There is six year old Bluey, dad Bandit an archaeologist (these two are Blue), mum Chilli that works in airport security, and four year old Bingo are Red. These are the main characters.

These Bluey books are a warm, delightful depiction of family life, shared experiences, life lessons and differences. They open windows for children to look into and share Australian lifestyles, growing up and family relationships, in a fun and inspiring way.

In Bluey: The Beach, a lift-the-flap book, the family sets out for a day at the sea. Tent, towels, shovels, hats, and they are set for an exciting adventure. Mum sets off for a walk by herself. Bluey doesn’t understand why. She finds a special shell and wants to share it with her, but all that is visible are footsteps in the sand. Imaginative play sees Bingo give Bluey mermaid legs.

Dad allows Bluey to follow mum’s footsteps in the sand. Walking alone, Bluey encounters sea creatures, sand castles and pelicans which she incorporates into her play. She also comes to understand the significance of solitude.

Bluey: Fruit Bat, a glow-in-the-dark board book, is a beautifully themed story on how parents have dreams of becoming something or someone, just as children do.

A delay to bedtime takes the form of saying goodnight to a long list of Australian Outback animals. But not to the Fruit Bats, as they are nocturnal, dad says. Bluey wants to be a fruit Bat so she doesn’t have to go to bed when she’s told to do so. Or shower. Dad reminds Bluey of the things they do together that Fruit Bats can’t do.

Bluey sneaks downstairs to further delay bedtime. Dad asleep on the floor, dreaming of playing footy. Mum confides it was what dad had wanted to do. Perhaps Bluey can dream of being a Fruit Bat.

Bluey’s dreams make her realize that dad has set his dreams aside to fulfil his role of parent. This proves to be an important revelation for the clever and insightful Bluey!

Bluey: Time to Play is a sticker activity book. We are introduced to all the Heeler family with a short bio about each member. There is a maze, a game with Magic Claw, a double spread of colour-in which allows us to meet the extended family and friends, and an excursion in the car. Missing objects in the Takeaway shop need replacing, other drawing opportunities, and more full page colour-in images.

Two pages of stickers allow interaction and add atmosphere to every page. The stickers have the page numbers allocated to them for accurate positioning, which gives the very young an ideal learning tool while expanding their imagination and their motor skills.

Title: Bluey: The Beach, Fruit Bat & Time to Play!
Author: Based on ABC Kids TV Show
Publisher: Penguin Random House, $14.99, $14.99, $5.99
Publication Date: November 5 2019
Format: Board Books and Paperback
ISBN: 9781760894054, 9781760894047, 9781760894030
For ages: 3+
Type: Activity Books