Review Blog

Aug 11 2014

Crikey and cat by Chris McKimmie

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2014 ISBN 9781760110031.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Friendship, Creativity. McKimmie's abstract drawings filled with colour, using a multitude of different techniques and styles, media and fonts drag my eyes across each of the pages, looking from one unusual image to the next, all the while pondering the how, why and the what. It took me a few readings to get into the why of the text, but this interest buoyed me along. It always intrigues me to think about how kids view his work, but as I am no longer in a school, this remains a mystery to me.
But I can imagine they will pour over the pages as I do, grabbing at every clue, every word, every image, thinking about the plot line and the end point. In this particular book, are two main characters, Crikey the dog, and Cat. They are concerned that the stars have disappeared and so their owner, Reg, drives to the hardware shop to get some equipment. Cat goes home with Eve. Reg builds a ladder and makes some stars, but a ferocious storm undoes all his work and Eve's caravan is torn apart. Eve picks up all the fallen stars and drives to Reg's place to give them back and he refixes them in the sky.
The family is enlarged when Eve joins them, their friendship melded through the creative use of the purchases from the all night hardware shop. The image of the night sky, a brush of dark blue, dominates many of the pages. Without the stars the night sky feels cold and unfriendly and the fixing of the stars brings warmth to the story.
The sparse words will make readers think about what is being said, and ponder the characters making the stars, and their working together to make this happen. The image of the storm, throwing around everything in its path contrasts with the quietness of the last page with everything in its place. I can imagine lots of stars being made and placed around the classroom after reading this and discussing it with a group of children, their imaginations roaring ahead of the adult presenter.
Fran Knight

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