POSTHUMA, Sieb Where is Rusty? Gecko Press, 2014 (2005) unpaged NZ$19.99 pbk ISBN 9781927271469 SCIS 1675219
One of the greatest fears of a parent is losing their child in a crowded space. Well, Rusty is a young white fox terrier and he has an inquisitive spirit (or more accurately nose) and follows its calling when family and friends are at the Department Store. When however Rusty spies a salesperson selling a smart machine that makes scrumptious dog bones/biscuits and turns around to his mother to make a serious request, he is horrified that she is not there. Meanwhile chaos occurs as watchdogs and customers are all searching around for the missing dog. Where is Rusty? Will he be found?
The activity picture book subgenre is cleverly incorporated as a subplot within the narrative structure of the storyline. The illustrations cleverly use colour, profile and front views, and leading lines/visual direction to channel the viewer’s search for Rusty amidst the visual chaos. The evocative use of anthropomorphic caricature could well amuse children as they explore the visual complexity of the book. Recommended. Teaching Notes are available on the Gecko Press website.
reviewed by John McKenzie