Raymond Huber (text), Brian Lovelock (illus.) Gecko (Nature Storybooks), Walker Books Australia, Oct 2017, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781925126556
First, a disclaimer – this review has been written from the publisher’s page proofs, not from the final book.
Raymond Huber is an accomplished New Zealand writer of fiction and information books whose books have been shortlisted for several awards both in his home country and the US. Gecko is another collaboration with illustrator Brian Lovelock after the success of their Flight of the Honey Bee.
The text of Gecko follows an individual lizard as it sheds its skin, captures a cockroach to eat, avoids predators and scares off an encroacher on its territory. Each double-page spread has the text in differing font sizes placed on beautiful paintings in watercolour, acrylic ink and pencil. As well as a narrative describing what is happening, there are also paragraphs of factual information in a different font.
The colour scheme is predominantly in tones of green, as befits the gecko’s habitat, with speckles of ink and patches of night sky providing relief. There are some humorous touches with the illustrator playing with the conventions of book publishing. On the back cover, the gecko is shown peeking out above the ISBN barcode while on the front cover he is hanging upside down from the title and on the title page he is attempting to eat the ‘k’.
This information picture book is an excellent example of the seamless integration of text and illustration to produce a high-quality non-fiction title. Recommended.
Reviewed by Lynne Babbage