Rachel Quarry, Colin the Chameleon, Starfish Bay Children’s Books, July 2018, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760360474
Colin is a chameleon with a problem. While his siblings are able to change colour with ease, Colin remains a glaring, traffic light red. Not being able to blend in with one’s surroundings can make life difficult for a chameleon; hunting is tricky and nobody wants to be standing next to Colin when predators are about.
The juiciest bugs are on the other side of a dirt road, which none of the chameleons dare to cross for fear of being run over by drivers who cannot see them. But one day Colin falls out of his tree straight into the path of oncoming vehicles. Thankfully, his bold colouration quickly stops traffic. Once Colin and his siblings realise that he is able to guide them safely across the road without being squished, they see his difference as a strength rather than a weakness and all of them enjoy feasting on juicy bugs together.
Colin the Chameleon is a cute and quirky tale about finding strength in difference and celebrating what makes us unique. The spare and simple language brings a very clear message to little ones: Being different is a good thing! The book may also spark conversations about wildlife, camouflage, family relationships and road safety.
Gorgeous ink mono print and collage illustrations perfectly complement the text. I particularly loved the endpapers depicting a forest scene with the usual browns and greens-but for one bright splodge of red. Little ones will enjoy spotting Colin and hunting for his more cryptically coloured siblings on each spread. There are a myriad of tiny bugs to be found and counted, too.
Reviewed by Deborah Kelly