Anna McGregor, Colouroos, Lothian Children’s Books, April 2019, 32 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780734418838
Okay, I admit it: I let out a little Eep when I was assigned Colouroos for review. It’s been on the top of my must-read list since its release (and yes, I am woefully behind on my reading).
This is no ordinary picture book. From its clever concept and powerful, yet understated, message to its vibrant colours and evocative language, Colouroos pays dividends aesthetically, philosophically and culturally.
The plot is simple but astoundingly effective. Three kangaroo mobs, strikingly represented by the primary colours of red, blue and yellow, travel from vastly different parts of Australia to the same watering hole. Although they look different, they soon realise they have much in common. Before long, joeys appear in a blend of never-seen-before hues, a magnificent and colourful tribute to Australia’s diversity, supported by themes of acceptance and inclusion.
The beauty of this layered story is that it can be embraced by the very young as a tribute to colours; enjoyed by young readers as a primer on Australia’s iconic landscapes, flora and fauna; and appreciated by all as an important reminder that our similarities far outnumber our differences.
Author-illustrator Anna McGregor’s background in graphic design is evident, with each unique illustration providing a clear focal point, scale, balance and clever composition. I nearly spilt my coffee when I learned Colouroos is a debut title. The book exudes the strong direction and sophistication of a skillful, experienced hand and mind.
Kudos to Anna McGregor – I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.
Reviewed by Maura Pierlot