Review Blog

Dec 11 2018

It's a long way to the shop by Heidi McKinnon

cover image

Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742998855
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Humour. Adventure. Overcoming obstacles. Determination. Persistence. Readers will just love working out how these two rocks can make it to the shop. After all they don't have legs or wings, or flippers, but they make it across the field, the river and the mountain with the help of other creatures.
Right from the start, they know it is a long way to the shop. The blue rock continually questions the red rock about how they can get across the field, climb so high or swim the river. Each time, the blue rock answers 'we fly' or 'we swim' but each time the blue rock responds with an insurmountable problem. But they do make it to the shop, some adventures happening along the way that press them forward: a goat picking them up in its mouth, then spitting them out, a bird taking them up to its nest, a person skimming them across the water.
Children will laugh out loud at how they are moved, despite their obvious inability to move of their own accord. And when they get to the shop, another problem occurs! The shop is a sausage roll shop, and it is waiting for them on the counter, but how can they get it down to eat it? Children will love working out what they or others can do to assist them.
The pared back illustrations using only a few colours are most entertaining, as they show the determination of the two rocks to achieve their goal. Children will love the blue text from the blue rock, and the red text from the red rock, encouraging them to join in when it is read to them. Children and adults will laugh at the insinuation of rock and roll into the story: the tale is about rocks, the title parodies a famous rock classic, 'It's a long way to the top', and they attend a rock concert. Heidi McKinnon, a Melbourne based graphic designer published her first book late year, I just ate my friend, a very funny understated look at friendship. You can read more about her at
Fran Knight

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