Review Blog

Aug 24 2010

Rufus the numbat by David Miller

cover image

Ford St Publishing, Melbourne, 2010. ISBN 978 1876462963.
(Ages 4-6) Perfectly executed and intricate paper sculptures make up the characters and their surroundings in this new picture book by David Miller. Rufus walks out the bush and into mayhem as he finds his way along the street of the town where a Chinese Dragon is performing. No place like home resonates through the pages as Rufus innocently cause chaos during his fleeting stroll, looking for ants to eat. First he knocks over the painter, studiously painting the roof red, and in turn the cafe owner and the coffee drinkers, then the boy on the skateboard who runs into the dragon, while Rufus, unknowingly walks on and back to the bush and home.
Placed on a background of fine line drawings filled with watercolour, the paper sculptures stand out, giving a 3D effect which is mesmerizing. Children will love touching the numbat to see if he is real; will look for the small objects placed on each page - the smashed dinner plates, the children's sneakers, the cake, the dragon's eyelashes and so one. There are many little details that will grab the attention of the readers travelling with Rufus across the small town. Instead of people causing havoc to the animal world, the numbat seems to take his revenge on the humans who are settling into his area. Classes will revel in the book and will extend the joy, trying out the paper sculptures for themselves.
Fran Knight

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