Round and Round the Garden

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Matt Shanks, Round and Round the Garden, Scholastic Australia, January 2021, 16 pp., RRP $15.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781743836385

Matt Shanks captures something quintessentially Australian through his beautifully illustrated picture book images to the classic rhyme of Round and Round the Garden; a part of his nursery rhyme series.

Originally a playful interactive rhyme between parent and child in which the adult would trace with their finger a circle on the child’s palm then slowly walk their fingers up the child’s arm while chanting the verse to end with a tickle under the chin; this picture book version plays on this sense of fun using Australian themes and characters.

The two young protagonists in wheelchair and on scooter, go round and round a billabong like a kangaroo, dance to the beat of a lorikeet, leap over wild brumbies and snooze by the campfire with a wombat in this simply told but action-packed adventure.

An illustrator and writer of ten books with a number of award nominations, Shank’s crisp whimsical images in gentle water colour washes lead the narrative rhyme; playing on the textual repetition and use of action words to make this a perfect picture book for the very young.

A beautiful addition to the home or school library.

Highly recommended 2+

Reviewed by Mem Capp

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