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This issue’s cover is from a stunning new picture book, Mary’s Secret by David McKee (Andersen Press, 0 86264 909 9, £9.99). An ecological fable about doing without cars, McKee’s story with its bright pictures full of well observed detail is set within Mary’s cheerful family and at her school. His bold, painterly illustrations use the page so confidently and dextrously that their quirky, decorative perspectives seem entirely natural. Thanks to Andersen Press for their help in producing this September cover.
An Emergency arises when the Jungle Kids gang find that their chocolate rations have been eaten by a monster. Plans are made to lure the interloper to his doom, and after many terrifying moments requiring great courage on the part of the Kids the chocolate thief is captured. Imaginative readers who have their own equivalent of the gang’s back garden Jungle Hut will rejoice in the antics of Todd (the narrator), Jamie (the gang’s smallest member) and Georgina (a small and bossy black girl).
Delightfully tongue-in-cheek, Wallace’s text and illustrations complement each other perfectly. He has both a verbal and painterly lightness of touch. The watercolour illustrations flow over the pages, sometimes in full or double page spreads, sometimes in a series of vignettes interspersed with text. Asides from the characters, drawn in pencil, add another dimension to this humorous and clever picture book.