The Story: This is the first in a popular series of books about Lily and her beloved Blue Kangaroo. In this tale, Lily is bought a number of new toys by visiting friends and relatives. Blue Kangaroo is gradually pushed further and further to the edge of the bed as Lily delights in her new presents.
The text is lovely and concise with a gentle, building refrain, which lends itself to memorisation. Emma Chichester Clark has a way of choosing exactly the right words. Lily’s first gift in the story is a teddy bear, which is described as ‘huggable and furry with wild, brown eyes.’ Wonderful!
The illustrations are perfect. The dramatic nighttime spreads, where Blue Kangaroo comes to life, contrast beautifully with the colourful daytime spreads. I particularly like the vignettes that show Blue Kangaroo growing increasingly anxious as new favourite toys join Lily at bedtime.
I discovered the book in the library nearly ten years ago when I was becoming interested in writing picture books. At the time I enjoyed the characterisation and the humour. Then, when I had children of my own, I discovered new layers to the book. The story may be about a common childhood scenario – lots of new toys – but it also touches on themes of sharing, love and concerns about rejection. The big test for any picture book is whether it stands up to multiple readings and I can confirm that it does. In fact, after writing this review, I shall go and read it to my two children again!
Age Range: 2 +
Author / Illustrator: Emma Chichester Clark
About author Alice Hemming
Alice’s first book, The Black and White Club, was published by Maverick in 2013. Illustrated by Kimberley Scott it has been selected by Peters Library Services as a recommended read and has been shortlisted for the Portsmouth Book Award.
Alice’s next book, Bibble and the Bubbles, will be out in September 2014.