Erhard Dietl, The Ogglies go to School, Starfish Bay Publishing, April 2015, 28pp., $14.99 (hbk) ISBN 9780994100719
The German originated Ogglies are green creatures that live on a rubbish dump, love all things smelly and eat rusty tin cans as snacks. Translated here for the Australian market, this picture book describes their children starting school.
Mum is too busy so grandma gives them a lift on Firebottom, the family dragon. They arrive just as the teacher finds out she needs to dash home and grandma takes over the lessons. Being an Oggly, she has them weight lifting and jumping in the mud with a special song (sheet music in the back of the book). Realising that not all grown-ups like their children to be muddy, grandma then employs Firebottom to wash and dry the class so all is back to normal when their teacher returns.
Part of me feels uncomfortable that a stranger is teaching un-accompanied, but nothing goes wrong and it gives the Oggly children a reassuring first day. The book has too much text for my liking, but some great irreverent writing: Louisa’s “sludgy hair is hanging over her face like brown spaghetti”. Also, being of a larger page format (215x280mm), there is still space for detailed colourful illustrations where frogs and mice carry on their own visual subplots.
reviewed by Liz Anelli