Review Blog

Oct 13 2020

Colin Cockroach goes to Caloundra by Chris McKimmie

cover image

Ford St Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9781925804553. (Age: 4+) Highly recommended. When Colin decides to follow the smell coming from upstairs, he embarks on a wonderful holiday north of Brisbane, unwittingly hitching a ride with the family which has left because of the cockroach infestation. They leave a cockroach bomb in the house to rid it of the pests and take a holiday while the fumigant does its job. But Colin is in one of their paper bags along with an assortment of necessaries for a holiday: suncream, chocolate, paper towels and chips.
He goes north past the Glasshouse Mountains and the big pineapple. He spies a koala and a budgie and when he gets to Caloundra he dons his flippers and snorkel to wander along the beach. Then he rides a wave or two before being spotted, and everyone runs away, even the shark. That evening sees him at the disco where he dances the night away with Kylie the crab. All the facets of a good holiday: sun, surf, things to see, good food and a romantic interlude!
When the time comes for him to return to his family, he finds they are not where he left them and he fears the roach bomb has done its work, but rest easily, there is a happy ending.
McKimmie's way of seeing the humble cockroach is most endearing; through his eyes we see an insect like those we spy on the kitchen floor, but readers will now take a second look as they trip across to the toilet late at night. Not only does McKimmie impel a second look at this insect, but he also showcases a tourist's view of Queensland from Brisbane to Caloundra, inviting readers to have a look for themselves.
His entertaining illustrations reflect a sophisticated naivety, using a seemingly childlike technique which invites readers to look more closely at how they are produced. They will see a range of skills using collage, gouache, pencils and watercolour amongst the many forms of illustration used to produce the spindly Colin and the plethora of detail on each page.
Witty, laugh out loud, ingenious, Colin Cockroach goes to Caloundra is a story begging to be read over and over again, poring over the intricate drawings, children making an effort to replicate what they see.
And I am sure they will want to read more of the adventures of Colin Cockroach.
Themes: Cockroaches, Insects, Adventure, Queensland.
Fran Knight

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