Chris McKimmie, Colin Cockroach Goes to Caloundra, Ford Street Publishing, October 2020, 32 pp., RRP $16.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781925804553
I’ve never been to Caloundra but would love to venture there, thanks to this whimsical tale of a cockroach’s accidental holiday when humans roach-bomb his house. Hiding out in a box of groceries loaded in the family car, Colin Cockroach goes to Caloundra, where he takes in the sights before trying his wings at surfing, soon clearing the ocean. It seems, whenever and wherever humans spot a cockroach, they flee! The deceptively simple illustrations, with coloured pencils, ink, watercolours, and gouache, are a trademark of McKimmie, the author/illustrator of over ten highly imaginative titles.
The narrative is also deceptively simple and can be enjoyed literally or figuratively, perhaps as a tale of belonging in a complex world that all too often turns to ‘othering’. I’m a big fan of McKimmie, and although his latest title didn’t leave the quite same impression as some of his earlier standouts (Brian Banana Duck Sunshine Yellow, Special Kev and Me, Teddy), it’s well worth a read. And then a re-read. Because the visual narrative, full of humorous detail, offers plenty of space for readers to piece together their own stories and start a conversation.
Reviewed by Maura Pierlot