Mike Lucas (text), Heidi Cooper Smith (illustrator), Bad Herbert, Larrikin House, September 2020, 32 pp., RRP $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780648804901
Bad Herbert has no manners and what’s more he loves cake so if you want to get to the delicious cake that awaits you at the end of this story you’d better get moving and make sure you get there first because Bad Herbert won’t wait. But how to stop a naughty monkey? You could draw a big gate with a padlock so he can’t get to the next page but if that doesn’t work maybe an enormous wave to wash him off course or sending a sly crocodile might encourage him to flee back to the beginning. Perhaps a very high mountain spewing lava or a giant earthquake will change his mind? There are numerous possibilities you can throw in Bad Herbert’s way. But remember this naughty monkey has lots of tricks up his sleeve.
The success of this rhyming picture book is in its humour and the race that develops between reader and the monkey to see who will get to the end of the book and the cake first. With a Dr Seuss sense of the absurd, Cooper Smith’s water colour illustrations play on the comical and sense of fun.
Recommended for children 5 – 8 years old. This book may also appeal to reluctant readers through its use of rhythm and humour.
Reviewed by Mem Capp