The Old Woman and her Pig ¦ Red Jack ¦ The Mount Martha Monster ¦ Moona Park ¦ The Kitten Who Wouldn't Purr ¦ Longneck the Tortoise
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The Old Woman and her Pig
Illustrated by Chris Meadows
The Mount Martha Monster
The Kitten Who Wouldn't Purr
Illustrated by Mark Payne
Longneck the Tortoise
Illustrated by Marg Towt
I have lumped all these books together since they make up what must be most of a new series of books called Kookaburras. As far as I can see, the only justification for publishing these under one logo is that they are all Australian in origin and have been transferred lock, stock and barrel to the English market. There is no other discernible connection between them.
The first is a fairly culture-free retelling of the 'Old Woman and her Pig' story. I liked the text, which is clear and faithful to the original but the illustrations lacked all charm and were wooden and crudely coloured. This was the best of the bunch, though, as far as my children and I were concerned and some of the others were very odd indeed we thought.
The Kitten Who Wouldn't Purr had no story to it at all and was written in a de-dumpty rhyme pattern that was not enticing and in places didn't scan. Both this and the former book are sort of infant-ish in range but the other four go from that level to adult without any indication of this on the cover. If you know a lot about Australian geography and wildlife it would help you to read these and you also need to be able to cope with phrases such as 'She rode alone, and wise men learned to set her virtue high' or 'Heavy rains came and the billabong was a frog world; the males sang their own praises and the females listened in wonder.'
In other words this is a very oddly assorted, mixed bunch which I would approach with extreme caution. I can think of no real reason for publishing them in this uniform format, other than a cheap deal with the Australian branch of Macmillans.