Ed Allen (text) Simon Williams (illus.) Aussie Animal Splits Scholastic, 1 July 2015, 32pp., $16.99 (hbk), ISBN 978 1 7436 952 9
This is an Aussie animal splits book reminiscent of one I spent hours pawing over on my bedroom floor as a child, laughing at the seemingly infinite silly combination of animals that I could come up with. So, I declare – I have a soft spot for this style of book!
In this book, each page is cut horizontally, splitting each Aussie animal in half, its top from its bottom, to combine with other pages and make over 200 quirky, unique, funny combinations. The text is likewise split, so that the top half stays with the head illustrations as the bottom half with the legs is flipped over, or vice versa. The rhyming verse is descriptive, and some characters are better written than others in terms of rhythm and meter, but the bold, easy text makes it ideal for beginner readers.
The illustrations by Simon Williams are big and bold with fetching personalities -it’s all in the eyes! They are on solid coloured backgrounds so they stand out on the page – my favourite is the Goanna (but that could be because it’s in my favourite colours).
If my childhood is anything to go by, children will enjoy manipulating the pages, watching the animals change, and enjoy guessing from the description what animal has been created. It makes a fun ‘guess who’ type game to play on your own (as I did) or with others, and it is a great aid to further inspire imaginative combinations of your own.
The publisher’s information claims that the book will be in sturdy hardback cover, with spiral bound pages making it easy for young readers to turn. The early proof I was sent did not have these features, so I am unable to comment on the tactile aspects.
Aussie Animal Splits would be a fun addition to any home library- It’s the sort of book that would bring more pleasure to own, than borrow, as children will discover its different potentials at different stages from 3 to 8 years.
reviewed by Debra Tidball