It is always such a treat to open a Gecko picture book because I can guarantee the book will give me a warm book glow. And when I get a warm book glow I am ready to do anything!
Today I reread three in a row. So you might just want to go Geckohunting in bookshops and libraries to find these little gems.
The first book, If I Was a Banana, is written by Alexandra Tylee. She has written two cookbooks because she is the owner and chef at the fabulous Pipi restaurant in the Hawkes Bay. They make very very good food! This is her first book for children.
The illustrator, Kieran Rhynhart, lives in Wellington and illustrated the very amazing New Zealand Art Activity Book. The pictures in If I Was a Banana are magical – they have that special glow that make you want to look and look and look. Gorgeous.
I love this book so much because it is very simple and very perfect. A young child imagines what they would be like if they were something else. For example:
‘If I were a banana I would be that one,
all yellow and fat and full of banana.’
The boy imagines what he might be like if he were a bird or mountain or a cloud for starters. If you like beautiful writing and illustrations that give you goosebumps then this is the book for you.
The second book is That’s Not a Hippopotamus! is written by Juliette MacIver and Illustrated by Sarah Davis. I am a big fan of Juliette’s writing because she fills her pen with bounce and leap and verve. Her imagination cartwheels and her sentences sing. Sarah’s illustrations are pretty cool too.
A teacher, her class and a zookeeper are on the hunt for a missing hippo – easier said than done when the children keep mistaking every animal they see for a hippo. The children are so skiddadlebubble excited they think the elephant is a hippo … and the giraffe is a hippo!
You will have to read the book to see whether they ever discover the right animal … maybe a little boy called Liam has something to do with it!
This is a fun read from one of my favourite New Zealand children’s authors. If you like words that dance and stories that leap then this is the book for you.
The third book is the book for all of us who love dogs because it is A Day with Dogs and every page is steaming with dogs. It reminds me of Richard Scarry books because every page is very busy – it takes ages to turn the page. I liked hunting for my favourite dog. There’s the flashest dog house I have ever seen. The bathroom is a disaster zone with six dogs in the tub, the shower on and the water overflowing.
You get to count things and follow a dog alphabet.
You get to see dogs at work, playing sport, making art, having a birthday, going up the mountain – and a million other things.
The author, Dorothée de Monfreid, is from France. Apparently she is very good on the ukelele.
If you like dogs and busy books then this is the book for you.
Gecko Press here
and if you want to get a stack of Gecko books: