Kerry Brown (text), Lucia Masciullo (illus.), The Hole. ABC Books/HarperCollins Australia, 23 April 2018, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9780733335235
When an unnamed squirrel, on her way to visit “Vera, her cousin from the West“, finds a large hole in the ground, she has to investigate. However as she hangs from the edge, she cannot feel the bottom and is sure the monster that lives there will soon eat her. Calling for help she attracts an ostrich who is “off to visit Douglas, his brother from the East“. He too becomes stuck, and his calls for help attract three monkeys. Hanging on for dear life their cries attract a mouse walking past. When the inhabitant of the long dark hole emerges because of the mouse’s actions, thinking there were monsters at the top preparing for a meal, they all enjoy a feast together.
This picture book, with its rhyming text and cumulative storyline, is perfect for reading aloud. As with many books with rhyming text, it is not fully appreciated until read aloud. In fact, it is hard not to read it aloud. The illustrations are bright and engaging, made from acrylic, collage and pencil.
The cut out on the front cover exemplifies the concept of the hole, encouraging readers to engage. The front and back endpapers add a level of mystery, as the text in between shows there is no monster in the hole, but is that really so?
This is a perfect book for schools, pre-schools and public libraries. There are many opportunities for integration in various curriculum areas and public story time sessions in libraries could have immense fun with this. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Liz Derouet