03 June 2010

Newts, Lutes and Bandicoots

by Mark Carthew, illustrated by Mike Spoor

Interactive Publications (IP Kidz). Australian, Picture Book, Young Reader. Hardback rrp $24.95

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

With ‘rhymes and riddles to make you giggle’, this interactive book with fully illustrated pages, will keep children entertained while learning new words and rhymes, solving riddles, and trying to find the hidden word and animals secreted somewhere on the page. There is a riddle on every page with a one word answer. The answer has to be guessed then found to confirm if it is right or wrong.

The themes are varied with a double page allocated to most themes. They cover a restaurant, circus, castle, a colonial scene, a snow scene with animals and children, entertainment with magic tricks, camping, trolls and moles, a campfire and picnic in the outback, flying animals, shearing, and pirates. Each scene is extremely detailed with animated versions of the characters and places. Australian animals are depicted throughout the book. This serves to encourage children to learn the names of each animal and where they are to be found. There are endless discoveries to be found and observation skills are definitely needed.

There’s an element of fantasy in every scene and Mark Spoor has thought very carefully about how to give the most to every illustration. The riddle answers can be found on the second last page and on the whole of the last page there is, under a listing of sub-headings of page numbers, all the words used in the book and the question, ‘Did you find these things?’ This highly educational picture book is suited to the 6+ age group, and can be helped along by an adult presence to support and answer any queries, and encourage the use of a dictionary.


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