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

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Review: Plume: Global Nibbler

My friends are all very aware of my penchant for penguins. Surely, they are one of the cutest creatures in the world? Although, if you have ever participated in penguin-spotting research via live stream, you will appreciate that the little darlings are very hard to distinguish one from another… 

But now there’s Plume. And there can be absolutely no doubt at all that Plume is the most charming and delightful penguin ever to waddle the pages of a book.

Tania McCartney has a genius for creating picture books that not only engage young readers with their narrative and exquisite illustrations, but also teach - whether about geography or history, people or places. To my mind, she has an absolute gift for her unique style of ‘travelogue’ books, and children of my acquaintance return to these over and over. With Plume, Tania takes this virtual travelling experience to a whole new fun and entertaining level.

Plume made his first appearance as a global traveller in the first book Plume: World Explorer and readers fell in love with this quirky little citizen of Antarctica, who is just a bit different to all the other penguins with his love of very non-PC (Penguin Culture) activities such as sky-diving, knitting and cooking. 

It is Plume’s great interest in cooking that sparks his newest adventure.

The little gourmet with the distinctive yellow feather has tried in vain to interest his fellow penguins in trying out new taste sensations, as he savours his latest online purchases gathered from around the globe. Seemingly, his mates are far too set in their plain fishy ways, so Plume conceives an idea to tempt them.

Enlisting the assistance of the lovely Ava (from Albatross Express), he takes on her super suggestion to host cooking lessons. As a result, Plume takes off on a round-the-world gastronomic experience that's bound to set your tastebuds tingling. 

From Japan to Italy, Iran to Mexico, Morocco to Sweden, Plume and Ava sample and savour tastes and treats. Your little readers will know some of these – such as tacos or kebabs – but others will be new words and dishes to roll around the tongue: torshi, kanelbulle, fika, meskouta and flautas are just a few.

As always, Tania’s illustrations are simply divine, and her characters completely charming, especially their facial expressions. Her fun with wordplay, onomatopoeia and descriptive language will provide much rich and fruitful discussion. And – oh my goodness! – the gorgeous endpapers, frontispiece, and the scrumptious textured cover elevate this to a work of real art.

I cannot wait to share this book with some hungry little readers, and would love to follow it up with a virtual trip around the world, concluding with a feast – of course!

This book will easily be incorporated into a teaching program focused on geography or cultural awareness, but makes for a superb personal reading time share as well. I would highly recommend adding Plume to their collection for readers as young as prep right up to later primary, and I am definitely looking forward to Plume’s next adventure.

Bon appetit!

Stay tuned for Plume: Festival Seeker, out 5 October 2022 in Australia/New Zealand.

Title:  Plume #2: Global Nibbler
Author/Illustrator: Tania McCartney
Publisher: Hardie Grant Explore, $26.99
Publication Date: 5 May 2022 Aus/NZ, 13 May UK, 7 June USA/Can
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781741177671
For ages: 4+
Type:  Picture book