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

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Review: Colin Cockroach Goes To Caloundra

Award-winning writer and artist, Chris McKimmie’s eclectic mash up of artwork defies explanation but is a sure-fire lure for kids who appreciate interpretative realism, which is most of them. 

Using bright and whacky combinations of coloured pencils, gauche, water colours and collage, McKimmie has created another humorous and eye-filling masterpiece.

Colin Cockroach Goes to Caloundra drips with wit, occasional rhyme and just a smattering of ribald innuendo, depending on your set of life references.

Colin lives a peaceable life with his parents in the house they co-share with humans, Fran and Stan. These humans are not the most tolerant of people and decide one fateful day to eliminate their roommates. The Cockroach family flee for their lives as Fran and Stan prepare to bomb away all evidence of their existence.

In the ensuing confusion, Colin deposits himself in a box laden with inviting food smells which is inadvertently loaded into the car with Fran and Stan who must also vacate the house while said bomb does its thing.

After a scenic road trip past the majestic Glass House Mountains and iconic Big Pineapple, they end up at Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, an annual summer haunt for this little black duck, too. What good taste Colin has in holiday locations! Everything is new and beaut for Colin from beachside surfing to the decadent holiday snacks he consumes. Sunsets from (possibly) Moffatt Beach seal Colin’s appreciation for different places and different faces making departure heartbreaking. But like all of life’s rollercoasters, the ride must eventually come to an end and Colin ultimately returns home to…well you’ll have to see for yourself how the future pans out for this well-travelled little Periplaneta australasiae (I presume Colin is an Australian cockroach).

The subtext to Colin’s story promotes diversity, tolerance and a greater appreciation for the displaced persons of this world. It’s hard to love cockroaches, as strange, elusive and subversive as we perceive them to be. Much better to eradicate first and ask questions later. Colin’s story encourages the reverse in younger readers because quite frankly not all cockroaches, like humans, are created equal but all should be equally understood and valued.

If names could be idioms, McKimmie succeeds again with the use of Colin, Kylie, Stan and Fran; characters that are clever conduits for comedy and the ultimate realisation that, you will never, EVER be able to kill a cocky.

Colin Cockroach… delivers a nostalgic trip through SE Queensland, if you’re an Aussie and chuckle-worthy experience whether you abhor bugs or not.

Title:  Colin Cockroach Goes to Caloundra
Author / Illustrator: Chris McKimmie
Publisher:  Ford Street Publishing, $24.95
Publication Date:  October 2020
Format:  Hardcover
: 9781925804546
For ages:  4+
Type:  Picture Book