HOLROYD, Madison, Sarah Hill & Fiona Whyte Beetle Bottoms and the Eyes in the Night Visible Love Pub, 2014 unpaged $14.90 pbk ISBN 9780987595928
Imagine a hybrid of flightless fairies and May Gibbs’ gumnut babies who are the size of apple pips and ride birds and bees to fly, and you come close to what this mother and daughter team has created in this adventure story with a theme of racial acceptance and friendship. Explanations of these fantasy creatures bookend the story. The story itself, about the young Apple Keeper Beetle Bottoms’ discovery of another breed of Beetle Bottoms, is easy to follow and well paced. Mostly set in the dark of night, the sense of tension and suspense are gentle enough not to disturb a young audience. I felt that the read aloud appeal could have been strengthened with a refinement of text – it can be a mouthful at times.
The book is pleasantly tactile and the pictures nicely illustrate the text, being big, bold and colourful, in a naive style, although I was slightly confused about perspective with the birds and bees being the same size. This is the next book in a suite of resources designed to encourage and inspire the development of young children’s imaginations through Story Play. Suitable for ages 2-8years.
reviewed by Debra Tidball