Pip Smith (text) and Beau Wylie (illustration), Theodore the Unsure, Scholastic Australia, August 2019, 32pp., RRP $17.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760661861
Theodore, the king of all animals, has big shoes to fill. It’s no easy task making the big decisions, like whether to cut his perpetually growing mane. But he learns that indecision leads to atrophy and while a good leader should listen to the voice of the masses, the final decision must be made.
Theodore is thrust into the role of king of the entire animal kingdom with a heavy heart and lacking any self-belief. How can he lead all of these animals if he can’t even make a simple decision like what colour socks to wear or whether to cut his mane? Theodore’s advisor comes up with a plan…voting! What better way to have a decision made that leaves everybody happy. That is until the voting goes askew. The donkeys produce, you got it… a donkey vote, the penguins declare they have no idea what a lion is, let alone a mane, and the snakes break out in a melodious ‘what a mane, what a mane, what a mighty good mane’ chant to the tune of Salt-N-Pepa’s 1993 hit Whatta Man (or at least that’s how it went in my reading to my enthralled Kindergarten class!) And when the final count is in, Theodore is not so sure it’s the right decision.
This is a lighthearted story about problem solving, leadership and believing in yourself. Theodore teaches that voting is about ensuring everyone is heard and a good leader makes decisions for the good of all. There are many tongue-in-cheek comments to keep the adult readers chuckling and the illustrations are cute and engaging, adding little snippets to the story.
Theodore the Unsure is a must-have in the classroom library.
Reviewed by Katie Mineeff