Review Blog

Nov 20 2015

We're going on a Santa hunt by Laine Mitchell

cover image

Ill. by Louis Shea. CD Recording by Jay Laga'aia. Scholastic Australia, 2015
ISBN 9781743626429 (Age: 2-8) This is one of many of Scholastic's many book and CD sets and these three artists (Mitchell, Shea and Laga'aia) collaborated on the similar We're Going on an Egg Hunt, which I think suited the 'we're going on a bear hunt' formula better than this one does. Shea's illustrations (he also does the Where's Santa search book) are filled with interesting animal characters and surprising colours; there are lots of dark shades and almost fluorescent colours. This gives a strange phosphorescent quality to some of the pages. In addition, the illustrations on the endpapers don't seem to match the rest of the illustrations. Regardless, children will be drawn to this pop of bright colour against the dark cover background and the sparkly gold title, but may not be so engaged by the story. As a read-aloud some of the lines seem like they are forced to fit in to the structure and do not even translate well to song. Listening to the audio, it seems a challenge for Laga'aia to sing it, and almost impossible to join in with some parts. For example, 'We can't go over it. We can't go under it. We'll have to go through it! Run so fast to lead the charge!' and 'Look out! What is it? A reindeer herd! Holding sled team races!' The lack of flow and rhythm makes it more of a 'put on the cd and let the child listen to it and look at the book' rather than the fun, interactive book it should really be.
Nicole Nelson

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