Topsy Turvy Animals is one of a series of books by this writer and illustrator team which describe a surreal (or topsy-turvy) world.
On each page we meet disparate pairs of animals doing the unexpected. This is a world where snakes can fly, zebras climb trees and camels strum guitars. Poet Wes McGee’s text is rhythmic with rhyming couplets and word play on each page which invites the reader to join in or predict how the lines might end. The ‘next steps’ section at the back of the book makes this suggestion in fact, together with simple ‘ways in’ for children’s own writing following the same line structure. Ideas for art work are included too.
The idea of a ‘topsy-turvy’ world with animals doing crazy things has potential, particularly in terms of children’s own creative writing, but the overall effect in terms of text and illustration is disappointing and a little overwhelming. This is due, in part to the layout which is very hectic, any potential humour from illustrating this upside down world is lost as the pages are so crowded with images.