Review Blog

Nov 23 2012

Terry Denton's bumper book of holiday stuff to do! by Terry Denton

cover image

Penguin, 2012. ISBN 9780 14 330665 8.
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Non fiction. Activities. Published just in time for the looming school holidays, this is a good little (well, large!) stocking filler that will use up the tedium of long drives to the relatives, days spent at the beach with nothing to do, and those idle hours when all seems grey. Looking rather like a book of black line masters, I was at first put off, but going inside, I was drawn by the plethora of things to do, pages to fill in, things to find, colours to render, drawings to be made . . . all calling not on repetition and copying of what is there, but imagination and observation. Terry Denton's funny drawings cover most of the pages, and to my eyes, are full of interest because of the size presented. The tiny drawings which are offered in other books are difficult to see and so diminish the joke.
So we have pages devoted to school break up, Christmas, beach holiday, city holiday, camping and so on, all the things which make up a typical Australian Christmas holiday season. Each chapter, and yes, they are in chapters, delineated with a contents page, gives things to do associated with that time. So in Camping, for example, the opening double page spread is a Where's Wally style of presentation, with a plethora of people, tents and activities to be identified and sorted. Turning the page is a checklist of things to spot on your way to the campsite, followed by a page where the reader must list all the things that begin with that letter. After that several pages are devoted to exhorting the camper to fill in some drawings of their own, while the following pages are devoted to food and its companion, ants. Several more pages ask the reader to fill in a star map, and things they see in the dark. All in all, a series of pages which ask the reader to observe while being entertained and illuminated.
Denton warns the reader that they will need pens, ideas, sense and time, and the canny parent will welcome this book and make sure one is in the car along with the requisites.
Fran Knight

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