McKinnon, Heidi, Baz & Benz, Allen & Unwin, March 2019, 32pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760523688
Baz & Benz is a simple but thoughtful story of enduring friendship, created by successful children’s picture book author, Heidi McKinnon. Baz is portrayed as a little owl who seeks assurance from the bigger owl, Benz, that their friendship will prevail no matter how Baz changes and no matter how annoying he may be.
The illustrations depict Baz and Benz as cute, stout, brightly coloured, big-eyed owls. Changes in the owls’ facial expression add to the text by conveying their feelings. Each owl occupies almost an entire page against a boldly coloured background. Towards the end, Baz and Benz are united on the same page in blissful close contact. Finally, on the last page, when Baz lets out an annoying “Meep!”, Benz is still beside him, albeit with an irritated expression in his eyes.
Preschoolers and the adults who read to them will enjoy the appealing colourful, cute illustrations and the touching and re-assuring message that significant relationships endure over time and despite challenges.
Reviewed by Barbara Swartz