Helen Martin (text), Judith Simpson (text), Cheryl Orsini (illus.), The ABC Book of Places to Go, ABC Books/HarperCollins Australia, 23 Jan 2017, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9780733334283
Richard Scarry meets play school in this latest offering in the ABC Kids Book Of series.
This book gently explores the adventures that can be had in the world – from playing in the backyard to going to the shops or the doctor or even wider afield like visiting the airport, the zoo and the snow. The book starts and ends with home and the refrain:
‘So many different places- some you know and some are new.’
The simple text moves between rhyme, prose and direct questions, and encourages observation within the book which will readily translate to outside in the world.
Orsini’s illustrations are colourful and playful featuring human characters in a diversity of places in a naive artistic style. Her characterisation of people at the airport, for example, is insightful and scattered with delightful details like the businessman checking his watch and the musician with her cello case. The landscape orientation takes advantage of colourful panoramic spreads like one of my favourites, featuring the library. Each scene is busy with lots to interest young readers, but not cluttered. I did, however find the flow of the text was sometimes interrupted by awkward placement.
The penultimate spread is of a bedroom scene which shows how the adventures have impacted upon the children: one is playing with a toy lighthouse, another is playing doctors and nurses and another is riding a rocking-horse-elephant.
This is a charming resource to introduce pre-school children to the fascination of places around them and encourage discussion and exploration.
Reviewed by Debra Tidball