Review Blog

Nov 28 2019

Wacko by Ali Durham

cover image

Starfish Bay Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781760360733.
(Age: 3+) Rhyming story, Grandparents, Growing up. In four line rhyming stanzas the story is told of a young boy growing up showing the stages he goes through from a toddler to school age. Each milestone is punctuated by a comment to Grandpa
Look Grandpa, Look
I grew in the night!
My head is up here
and my shoes are too tight!

The same unvarying format is used on every page, making it easy for younger children to recognise the rhythm, and join in, predicting the rhyming words.
Grandpa then responds
Wacko, said Grandpa.
'You really have grown! Such a big lad
Who would have known?

The word, 'wacko' appears in every second stanza, indicating it is the grandfather speaking, using an old Australian expression not often used today which recognises delight and pleasure.
Young children will delight in the new found word, repeating the stanzas after the reader, learning them for themselves, following the interaction between the older man and the child, recognising the humour that lies in the words.
But they will also recognise the developmental stages of children before going to school, as the boy learns to stand, use a spoon, or jump up and down. Potty training comes along with learning to use underpants, learning to swim, learning rules about bedtime, reading together and finally going to school.
A fixed layout is pursued on every double page and the colours are bright and breezy.
Fran Knight

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